"'I'm here for my rose,' she'd say."
Mary stopped speaking and pushed her red hair behind an ear.
"Each week she came in, this sweet retired school teacher. ...There were photos everywhere in her home of her kids. School kids would come back year after year to visit her, even when they were married and grown. They'd send her Christmas cards with family photos, and Char would add the photos to her walls. Her walls were covered with photographs. She loved her students and loved being part of their lives as they grew up."
Mary stopped to run a hand across her face. Hot chlorine-scented steam surrounded us at the public pool. We paused to glance at the swimmers in nearby lessons, and then returned to talking.
"When her husband was dying, he set it up: one peach rose for her. Every Tuesday Char would come to the flower shop where I worked."
|Photo Credit: Flickr user Adam Jones, Creative Commons cc license|
'I'm here for my rose!' she said.
"She and her husband were Christians and had married later when they were in their forties or so," Mary continued.
"He grew roses, and they had met over that. At his home he grew bush after bush of peach roses. They were his favorite colored rose. He always said he didn't know why he would grow any other flower."
Mary chuckled and shrugged.
"And that's what he arranged for her to receive every week after he died: one peach rose. She came in every week, and everyone in our shop knew her."
Mary paused to check on her grand-children in the pool, and I breathed it in, this act of love throughout the ages.
What a great way to show love, I thought, wriggling my bare toes on the wet tiled floor. Cheeks red with heat, I pushed shirt sleeves higher up my arms and leaned back in my bench. What did a gesture like that cost, I wondered.
And I loved the foresight of this flower-loving, wife-loving man to set up a fund that weekly supplied his bride with the reminder that he loved her, that he had thought of her, long after he had gone.
It reminds me of Easter, actually. This costly act of love that ripples back throughout the years, weekly reminders of our God's love for us. Jesus endured a Roman torture death to show the world how much he loved it. Our humanity-loving Creator chose to die so that he could give us life.
His love takes my breath away.
And he invites us into a relationship with him, boldly saying, "I have come that they may have Life and have it abundantly."
Too often, I think, I grow complacent, lazy, and forget to be grateful. I forget to stand up smiling, eager, thankful.
So I stand up today, and speak it out in grateful love. "I'm here for this New Life. ...He already purchased it for me."
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