Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Blue Rose

A few weeks ago, my daughter and I came across a very moving story from a man named Bill Rayburn who posted the item penned by an anonymous author on his website.  While it is somewhat long, I believe it is very worth reading.

Why do I always have to be the one that starts to do the laundry and there's no detergent?  I guess it was time for me to do my "dollar store" run, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags and Clorox.  So off I go.

I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies, and headed for the checkout counter only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man that appeared to be about sixteen years old.  I wasn't in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there...

This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, "Mommy, I'm over here."  It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged, and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by.  His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said,, "Hey, buddy, what's your name?"  "My name is Denny and I'm shopping with my mother," he responded proudly.  "Wow,"  I said, "that's a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Hal."  "Hal like Hallowe'en?"  he asked.  "Yes," I answered.  "How old are you, Denny?"

"How old am I now, Mommy?"  he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle.  "You're fifteen years old, Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by."  I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles and school.  I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement because he was the center of someone's attention.

He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.  Denny's mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk to her son.  She told me that most people wouldn't even look at him, much less talk to him...

I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow and pink roses in God's garden, however "blue roses" are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness.  You see, Denny is a "blue rose" and if someone doesn't stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they've missed a blessing from God.

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eyes she asked, "Who are you?"  Without thinking I said, "Oh, I'm probably just a daffodil or maybe even a dandelion," but I sure love living in God's garden.

Blue roses are truly rare, and some feel the only way they can be created is by taking a white rose and having it take in a blue dye.  Whatever the reality, a blue rose would certainly capture someone's attention because of its rarity.  Reading over this beautiful little story, I was reminded of the lyrics of a song called Scorn Not His Simplicity by Luke Kelly.  It also calls on the listener to be mindful of the one who is different because of a special need and I quote just a few lines:

Only he knows how to face the future hopefully surrounded by despair.
He won't ask you for your pity or your sympathy but surely you should care.
Scorn not his simplicity but rather try to love him all the more.
Scorn not his simplicity - oh no, oh no, oh no.

Are there blue roses that you know?  They may be any of those who are different from others because of an emotional, mental, or physical challenge.  When I was discussing this story with my daughter, I told her she was our "blue rose."  Not because she is mentally challenged - no.  She is a well educated and erudite woman, an artist and a writer, but one who has struggled with a physical disability since her teenage years.  This disability has rendered her unable to work any longer even though she has been a teacher in the past.  But she has known the scorn of some who like to make fun of those less able than themselves, a situation that still exists even though she is now a grown woman.

We all need to remember that there are many flowers in God's garden - some with great beauty and others with simplicity.  But all are important and all have a place in that garden.  Reach out and touch those blue roses that come into your lives; you will be richly rewarded for doing so.

As I said before, my daughter is an artist and a writer.   She created the picture of the blue rose found at the beginning of the post, and she has penned the following poem that I now share in closing:

They catch your eye,
they turn your head,
they shine against the normal red.

You may be shocked...
too shocked to see
that what you look at is true beauty!

For beauty comes in many forms...
though some can only see the thorns,
the differences that challenge those
who only accept a red, red rose.

The differences, they are a test..
their beauty shines above the rest.

Who among us will allow
a random blue within the crowd?

For when the blue does catch your eye,
don't turn away, for you will find

Beauty and love, a calm repose...
that lies inside a bright, blue rose.