by Kristen Hartman

January 27, 2021


Our rose bushes just underwent January’s annual massive pruning, but the last of their blooms, rescued from cut-off branches, are in a vase beside me. They’re delightfully fragrant.

I savor the lingering scent of flowers from bushes that cannot produce new buds today. And I wonder if it’s an apt metaphor for many of our lives.

I am grieving diagnoses and deaths and losses of every variety (I assume you may be, too), but I still smell the aroma of those lives in their fullness.

Most of us are living disrupted lives, but the scent of what was still lingers in the air. It’s a bit of a winter harvest, but we can only reap what was sown. And what were those seeds . . .

sacrifice or selfishness?
humility or pride?
love or bitterness?
generosity or scarcity?
tenderness or steeliness?
forgiveness or condemnation?
patience or hastiness?
hope or fear?

Take a deep breath. What aroma is your life giving off?

Maybe it’s sweet. Maybe it’s not.

Perhaps your pruning, like the roses, is still fresh. Maybe you feel barren and unable to produce the tiniest leaf, let alone a fragrant flower.

Yet every day I see new growth already emerging on the rose bushes. They are very much alive. Their roots are deep and strong. The blooms beside me—despite their sweet smell—are dead.

The hope is not in the vase. The hope is in the ground.

And those of us rooted and abiding in Jesus can trust the seed is good, the Master Gardener’s cuts are never errant, and we are not done growing.

Kristen is grateful she didn’t have to prune the roses this year but is so grateful that the one who did thought to save the flowers.