There was a spell in my prayer a good while ago when Jesus gave me roses. I was drawn over and over to an image of a red rose and my spiritual director helped me stay with that simple experience and trust it. She suggested I let Jesus buy me one. So I did. And sat in my prayer for days just looking and smelling and relishing the God who gave me roses.
Many times after that I’d get the sense of Jesus saying, ‘time for a new rose’, and out I would go to get one. I still have most of those roses, dried, in a bowl in my room. A few years ago in a rather maudlin mood I was praying, holding one of those rosebuds–by then very dark and very crisp and a little dusty–and thinking of how fragile it was and how fragile many things in life can be. But then I caught the edge of its scent. Even after 10 years my roses still carried their fragrance. And I could sense Jesus saying to me, ‘they might be fragile but look, here they are–lasting, beautiful, constant’. They still are.
There is much that is fragile in my life right now but I am finding a constancy also, a beauty.
There’s a fine novel by Ron Hansen, Mariette in Ecstasy, that tells a tale of religious experience and fragility and faith and doubt. I’m going to do the unforgivable and quote you it’s final paragraph–so avert your eyes if you need to…
And Christ still sends me roses. We try to be formed and held and kept by him, but instead he offers us freedom. And now when I try to know his will, his kindness floods me, his great love overwhelms me, and I hear him whisper, Surprise me.
Fragility has its joys.