Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ode to a Rose

A few years ago, I had to take my youngest daughter to an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) to have her eye sight evaluated. Over a period of a few months, I had developed a close relationship with her doctor. After much discussion and prayer, my husband and I decided to go against his recommendation for eye surgery in favor of seeing a vision specialist. It was a very difficult decision to leave his practice. Upon notifying him of our choice to leave his care, I sent him a gospel tract in the mail and explained to him that our decision was based on much research and prayer as we sought the Lord's guidance. A few days later, I received a letter in the mail from him thanking me for my letter and gospel tract. He went on to explain that his father was a Methodist minister who had recently passed away. He mentioned that his father was “the most decent man I ever knew.” He then enclosed a poem that his father had written which was read during the Memorial Service. I have included the poem in its entirety below. It may be one of the most poignant poems that perfectly captures the beauty of God in creation. I hope it blesses you as much as it has me.

"Ode to a Rose"

Gazing at a rose today—
Rather contemplating a rose—
I wondered-
Why is it beautiful?
What is beauty?

I enjoy the rose.
More than enjoy.
I share the joy of God
That is in the rose.

It has
Color, rich and full—
Balance—and yet—

And yet – not quite symmetrical
Not quite in balance—
Titled a little to one side
Like a flirtatious school girl—
Smiling wickedly, mischievously.

I say it is beautiful. I love to gaze at it. Contemplate it,
Drink in every “word” it says to me—
For it is saying something. I don’t quite know what—
But that’s because I’ve never taken the time to learn
The language of a rose.

It speaks to me of Joy – of completeness, wholeness, of excitement of the undiscovered.
Man can make a rose of paper and wax – but it’s not the same.
It has the outward form, but lacks the charm, the spell, the mystery.

Mystery. That’s the word.
For if a man had never seen a rose, he could never imagine one.
Man can imitate, with paper and wax, what God has created.
But the rose, its beauty, its mystery, its charm, comes from God.

It is of God.
The rose is saying, “The beauty which you find so interesting, so charming, is the beauty of God.
The fragrance, so gentle, so peaceful, so quiet is the gentle peace of God.

The rose says to me—
Be gay
Be full
Be joyous
Be just what God made you
Then your life will radiate a charm, a mysterious gentle peace
For you too are God’s precious possession.

-Paul O. Reese (1914-2007)

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