A good friend shared this personal story, written during a sabbatical trip with her husband, who is a pastor. We have known each other since 1980, and when I read her story I was so encouraged! With her permission, here is her story (slightly edited):
“I liken my experience to The Story of My Rosebush:
When I left campus ministry in 1999, my team gave me a beautiful light pink, tight-bud tea rosebush. It lived outside our front door in upstate New York and thrived–the blooms were beautiful, fragrant and light pink. When my husband was transferred to a new pastorate, we brought it to Long Island where we planted it outside our front door, but it did not thrive, nor bloom, was plagued with pests, and wasn’t happy at all (kinda like me :)) We were neglecting it.
After several months, the church fenced in our backyard, landscapers carved out some flower beds and we began creating our own little oasis. With some tender love and care, we transplanted the light pink fragrant 18 year-old rosebush to a nice sunny spot in good soil in our new flower bed.
Imagine our surprise when a few weeks ago our newly transplanted rosebush bloomed profusely in DEEP RED FLOWERS WITH YELLOW CENTERS! WHAT??!!?? How can this be? What happened to my light pink fragrant rosebush?
Well, after conducting some research and engaging in expert gardener chats, we learned that most roses are hybrid roses and sometimes, after a hard winter, or hard situation, a rosebush will revert to its original root-stock. That’s exactly what mine did. It has returned to its original created state! And so have I. On my journey through the brambles of the past over the winter, as I have meditated with St. Ignatius’ Exercises and contemplated the assigned Gospel passages, I, too, have returned to my original ‘true self’ as Ignatius would say and have left my ‘false self/false realities’ at the entrance to my Lazarus cave, letting Jesus unwrap those dirty old bandages and fill me with his love. So I have officially embraced imperfection, am happier and more content and highly recommend it! Not perfect–just original.”
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43: 18-19
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