Our 114-year-old house is in a National Historic Neighborhood. We have added on and remodeled through the years that we have lived here - somewhat less than 114 - but it is still an old house.
We’ve done a lot of work in the yard, too. Sammie inherited a love for flowers from her mom, Ruth. Ruth loved and raised African Violets. Sammie loves flowers on bushes and bulbs that I have to plant...hydrangeas, day lilies, daisies, peonies, forsythia, butterfly bushes, trumpet vine, Carolina jasmine, and roses. Especially roses. Not store-bought, cut roses. Roses that grow. Bush roses, tree roses, climbing roses.
Arching over the sidewalk that leads to our front porch, climbing roses cover an arbor that struggles beneath its beautiful load. This time of year, for a few weeks, literally hundreds of blossoms exude a delightful odor that causes many of our neighbors to stop and smell the roses as they walk their dogs or just stroll down the beautiful sidewalk.
Many a spring night has found us sitting in the wicker furniture on our old porch, chatting with passers-by about our gorgeous rose- covered arbor. In fact, we’ve talked about them so much that the humble blossoms have developed a permanent pink-hued blush.
Recently, a rose-sniffer remarked to Sammie that the blooms were getting so high that she had to stand on tiptoes to get her nose close to the fragrant pedals, and she hoped we didn’t mind. We don’t mind. We’d be glad for you to stroll by our house, anytime, and stop to smell our roses...but you better hurry. Before long there will just be vines, green leaves, and thorns. The roses just last for a few weeks.
The same can be said for many of the pretty petals that inhabit our yard for a season. Dogwoods bloom then shed their beautiful blossoms. Peonies, with their delicate beauty and fragrant aroma, only last a little while. We could go on and on, but the same could be said for life itself and especially many opportunities that present themselves in life.
Have you ever failed to share a word of kindness or encouragement, then later regretted it, when it was too late? I know I have. People are in our lives for a short time at best. We may only meet someone special for a few minutes - just “crossing paths” - or we may know that special someone for decades, but when the time is up, it’s up. And it’s brief.
In the past year, we have had to say “bye for now” to some very dear loved ones as they have left this life for their eternal home. Every good-bye is a reminder that life is short; we need to smell the roses while they are still in bloom.
Some important occasions have been observed, too. The most important ones involved our grandchildren...of course. There was Annabelle’s dance arecital at the Beacon Theatre, in Hopewell, Virginia; football games; Katie Grace’s performance in The Sound of Music; and, most importantly, the baptisms of James David and Grayson. Some other activities got by us, and we only got to see videos.
Life is like the morning fog that disappears. The Psalmist prayed, “Teach me to number my days” or “Help me to realize the brevity of life.” Scripture also says that our life is like a flower (perhaps a rose) that fades away. Therefore, we need to chat with our neighbors and smell the roses while they are fragrant.
John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can...to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
--Steve Playl, columnist, college instructor, retired pastor, and chaplain, may be reached at email@example.com