The two of them would go for walks whenever they had the chance. The old man and the young lady weren’t related but were connected in a deeper way.
It was late in Autumn and the cold winds were blowing sending a chill through the both of them.
“I think our walking days are numbered,” he said.
“You never know. Sometimes the sun shines warm in December, too,” she said.
“Only in my heart,” he replied with a smile.
It was always down the same street and up the other side. It was easy walking and it took just enough time to complete before she had to head to work.
For whatever reason this day, they walked a different way. Maybe she knew he was right about the change in the weather, so she wanted to take a little extra time with her friend.
Almost at the turnaround point they came upon an old vacant home. There along the old wooden fence were the remains of a flower bed tucked in among the weeds.
“I never knew this was here,” she said. “I bet this was beautiful back then.”
“It still is,” he added. “Just because it is worn out and not very good looking on the outside, doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful.”
She couldn’t argue with that. Her friend was pretty worn out and ragged looking himself. On the inside he was beautiful indeed.
They stood there for a moment just looking around the front yard.
She would stop and glance at him wondering what was going through his mind.
“We’ve all seen better times,” he said softly.
He began telling a story. He was quite the story teller, too. Often times going on without a ending in sight.
Out of respect she pretended to listen.
Her eyes scanned the area in front of them. The brown bushes and wind blown leaves were deep. Pieces of trash caught in the thorns of a rose bush sadly polluted the otherwise touching picture of late Autumn.
“Wait a minute!” she said interrupting his story.
“There is a tiny rose bud there beneath the dead leaves.”
He looked closer and brushing away a pile he revealed it.
“Oh, how could this be? It’s so cold and nearly winter and yet it is trying to bloom,” she said.
Then she began to reach down to pluck it from its vine.
“No, wait!” the old man shouted almost startling her. “You can’t do that!”
“Why not? I’ll take it home and place it in a bud vase,” she said.
“Not this one. This is not some flower shop stem grown in a green house well protected from the weather. This one is a fighter, a magnificent example of God’s rule.”
“What rule?” she asked.
“I created you to become all that you can be no matter the circumstance, challenge or odds, said God!” he said with much authority.
“I never heard that one,” she said in a polite whisper.
He went on to explain, “This one knows not of the change of seasons. It didn’t stop to think about whether it was Autumn or Winter. It just began to bloom because it is all that it knows to do.”
People are so fickle. They believe those around them that say it can’t be done, or you shouldn’t. People accept this “old age myth” that puts them in a ending place rather than an anything-is-still-possible place.
People acknowledge that God wants them to be the best they can be, but are easily brought down to their knees by the pressure of the world.
We need to be more like the flower.
“I am a rose. Created by the hand of God. I will grow and I will blossom into His finest work.”
She was speechless as she replaced the leaves and twigs that in essence offered protection from the reality of the change of season.
The two friends returned to the place where they began. Neither spoke along the way.
He was right in saying “I think our walking days are numbered.”
The next Spring he was gone.
Once a week she visits his grave to remember their friendship.
Just before she leaves she places a fresh rose atop the grave stone and says, “Here’s to God’s finest work.”