I love flowers, particularly roses. I have planted roses before but until recently, I had never had the space to plant a large, climbing rose. Finally, after decades of waiting, I finally had a home that had the perfect spot for a climbing rose! With great anticipation, I chose a rose variety that would grow to cover an entire arch–up, across and down the other side–ordered it, assembled my trellis, painted it white and waited.
At last my rose arrived in bare root form and I planted it next to my newly painted arch. The first year, my rose–the one that was supposed to span 18 feet–grew only a few feet. In the photo above, it is easy to measure the level of my disappointment when you compare the size of the branch against the wall to the soaring heights of the arched trellis it was meant to cover. By the end of summer that first year, I almost dug it up in disgust. However, remembering that many roses need time to establish themselves, I decided to wait and see what happened the following year.
By the end of the second summer, one green branch had reached the top of the arch. I was thrilled when a few sweet, pink roses bloomed in early spring, but again, I felt cheated since this particular rose was meant to be a repeat bloomer. Yet, the handful of roses it produced were so lovely, I decided to wait one more year.
The following spring, my rose bush went into overdrive. Multiple canes of leafy green spanned the top of the arch and one even continued down the other side. I can’t adequately express my sense of intense anticipation when I saw the hundreds upon hundreds of tightly bound buds that sprung into view. There were so many branches, I set up a second trellis to take the overflow. Every day I scrutinized the now towering bush for signs of immediate bloom. I felt like a kid in a candy store and wanted to jump up and down with joy when all my waiting finally came to an end.
Now, as I revel in the beauty of my roses, I think back on the two years it took to produce the desired result. Looking back, it seems such a short time to invest in something so glorious. Yet, the waiting seemed so long.
Gardening is much like raising children–we nurture, we feed, we teach and we love. So often we must wait to know that all of our efforts have been of great worth. There are other things in life that is like this. Whether rearing children or participating in other worthy efforts, it can be tempting to give up, to quit, to let it go, when so much of what we do seems to amount to nothing. However, if we give up too soon, we will miss the abundance that awaits us. Oftentimes, it is the things that we wait longest for that are the greatest treasures.
As I work at becoming a Christlike person–the most important project of all–I remind myself to be patient, that even though my efforts often don’t seem to bear sufficient fruit, the longer the road, the deeper the imprint to my soul. I consider this as I enoy my roses and know that good things come to those who wait.