I look out of the window this morning and there is snow on the ground, winter is coming early this year. In previous times it would not be uncommon in this Valley to go through a winter with no snow, but perhaps more rain. As I sip my tea, what draws my attention is the single rosebud in the rosebush, determined to bloom in the snow. There are other buds around it, remaining closed in their green protective covering, and yet despite the coming of the snow, this rose has opened itself, vulnerable to the elements, preparing to bloom.
Being a person who thinks and wonders endlessly about things, I start musing about the resilience of this rose, and resilience as a quality in a person. There are people that I have known in my life that seem to have been born with a wildfire in their heart, and despite circumstances and surroundings, seem determined to grow and open themselves to their destiny. Not a destiny that conditions around them would try and dictate and impose, but a path that was written on their heart from before they were born into this world. They have a calling so true and strong that they are compelled to follow it, sometimes seemingly against all odds and at great personal cost.
I have read a lot about survivors from the holocaust. What I have been particularly drawn to are the survivors that got to the other side of that hell and despite the horrors they lived through, decided to find forgiveness for the perpetrators and to learn from what happened, and share this testimony to others. It is miraculous to me that these people are walking this path and in my eyes, they radiate beauty and strength not of this world and its’ brokeness. I am a woman of faith and I see this astounding beauty as a reflection of God’s face. Despite circumstances of the worst kind, these people walk in love and forgiveness. This is a glimpse of the God of my understanding.
I also reflect on those I have known who have seemingly succumbed to circumstances around them, living haunted lives from things that they once experienced that remain in their minds and hearts. I have been a person who has taken a ride on a dark horse more than once in my life. I understand the unending seduction of my weaknesses and vices, the temptation to find an easier softer way out of the pain and torment, the easiness to reach for a seemingly quick fix or to just give up completely. What is it inside someone’s heart that keeps them determined to bloom, to rise to their destiny, their birth song, in seemingly difficult or impossible circumstances?
I would imagine people have many different answers to this question. For me, the answer is the God of my understanding, the Refiner, shaping me and molding me into who I was meant to be, despite what this world would throw at me at times and my own inner battle. In fact, I have seen God bring beauty out of the ashes of my life over and over again. I know that it is not my own strength or willpower that has got me through difficult things, but a loving God who has my back. There have been times that I have been pridefully tempted to say it was me who got me through the tough times, but the truth is I came to the end of me and my resources some time ago and it is only by Grace that I still live to tell the story.
I do still have times when I feel like the rosebud in the snow, trying to bloom in seemingly difficult or impossible conditions. I am tempted to give up, put some form of my idea of a protective covering over my heart, abandon my birth song and destiny and find an easier softer way. But there is something in my heart that burns, and despite my fears and doubts, my insecurities and inner battles, I open my heart once again, lift my face to the sky, and ask God to help me sing my birth song, the song written on my heart.
Deana Lafleur 2017