Gary and I were ready to take Aaron to meet his group last Thursday morning, and then head down to Texas for Andrea’s graduation. We were right on time as I walked past our thriving Carpet Rose bush and opened the passenger door of the van, ready to climb inside so we could leave. A flash of red, though, caught my eye and caused me to pause. I looked down and right away I spied the small red hue, nearly hidden by all the green foliage of the rose bush.
I leaned down for a better look and there I saw the first little rose bloom of the season. It was so small and nearly hidden that it was really a miracle that in my rush I even saw it. The fragile bloom was probably several days old from the looks of it. Yet I was delighted to see this wee flower, not only for its beauty but also for the sheer delight it brings to look upon God’s design, and to also see that my rose bush is still growing and producing.
Lately I’ve had some thoughts go through my mind………some thoughts that are unwelcome and honestly, defeating. Thoughts about what purpose I have in life at this stage………what am I accomplishing that is of any importance or value……..what else should I be doing or could I be doing………..or what should I have done differently in the past. Sometimes these thoughts can spur me on to action in areas where I need to act, but I know that of late I’ve been discouraged more than spurred to action.
I think I get caught up in bigness. The ones who seem to make the greatest impact are the ones who are the most visible, right? The teachers and the singers and the authors and on and on and on. Nothing wrong with any of those things. But what am I doing?
Today the Lord has been gently reminding me of lessons I say I’ve learned…..but which seem to need repeating in my head and heart over and over. It’s not the bigness of the act, or the public attention it may garner that is important. God desires our obedience above all, and for most of us that obedience is in the daily moments of life that come our way…….unannounced and sometimes hardly recognized.
It’s listening to the dental receptionist tell about her sons and what they’re doing in their lives. It’s thanking the hygienist for her work and telling her she did a good job. How often does she hear those words? It’s seeing a fellow mother of special needs sons……yes, more than one……..and standing in the grocery store parking lot under the sun, sharing our concerns and sharing a lingering, needed hug. It’s showing the elderly woman how to put her grocery cart in the right line and get her quarter back, which meant so much to her. It’s letting the young woman with only four items go in front in the grocery line, and seeing her deep appreciation for such a small act.
It’s giving a listening ear to the neighbor whose husband is on hospice care, and then later taking them some homemade rice pudding………seeing their delight and watching her stand at the counter eating a big spoonful as she grinned from ear to ear. It’s taking the time to enjoy an unexpected visit from an old friend of Andrew’s who unexpectedly stopped by the house. It’s in the hug of my husband, welcome and loving. It’s in stopping to listen to Aaron even when I’m tired……….really listening, and relishing the uniqueness that I would have missed if I had hurried on my way. It’s in giving an ear to a friend’s call, full of frustration and desperation……….though I have no certain advice.
It’s in finally climbing into bed and thanking God for the day, praying for my children and for others before I fall asleep. It’s in pausing to recognize God’s leading in this day, when making rice pudding and sitting down for a surprise visit caused my plans to fall by the wayside……..but what a beautiful journey those wayside trips can be!
All of us wake up with a day before us, a day full of opportunity to serve and love and reach out in what seems like the simplest ways. Just like my little rose shining there nearly hidden underneath all the crowded leaves of the rose bush, so are these basic acts of kindness that come to us in any given day. Isn’t that what Jesus did? Reaching out to the common people around him, meeting their needs and loving them in His name.
That little rose caught my eye and made me pause in a moment of simple joy. And our little acts of love and help to others can likewise cause the people we encounter to stop, their spirits caught by surprise perhaps by a kindness that will bless them deeply.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to living our daily lives. God said that obedience is better than sacrifice. I want to remember the little red rose, out of sight though it was. I want to remember to be that rose in others lives. To be a splash of joy, a beautiful color of blessing, in the most ordinary of ways………but the ways that often mean the most.