Monday, July 14, 2014

MY DAD'S ROSEBUSH…….a parable…...

Good Monday y'all.
Today……a tale……….I will try to make it interesting!
This weekend I was at my parents home in London Ontario.
Those who know me, know I am there every two weeks trying to help around the house.
My parents are both getting up there in age so I do what I can!
I am telling you this NOT to sound like a saint (Lord knows I am NOT saintly in any way!)
Truthfully, there is probably a part of me that helps so much in the hopes of banking a little good Karma…so that when I am 80 years old -- SOMEONE will care enough to take care of husband and me (as we have NO KIDS)……
...hint hint hint - Nicole - Jeff - Rachel - Rebecca - Jake - Stella - Dahlia……
Ok ok…..on with the story……...I…….

My Dad is a master gardener.
Ok…maybe not a master - but he takes loving care of his plants and has a real green thumb!
I give you this photo as proof:

This is my Dad's rosebush in 2012. As you can see, it is rather splendiferous!!!
For years, this rosebush was in the front of the house. It was small and rather unimpressive then. I would even go as far as to say that the roses - for the better part of two decades - were kinda….meh.
(I know - BIG WORDS - but true!!!!)
It was a little bit of a failure.
When my Dad retired, he replanted the 'meh-bush' in the backyard against the garage. He was determined to have a better roses! Each day, he would go out and tend to it, fertilize it….you know….just generally put effort into helping it grow.
And grow it did.
And grow.
Within 5 years, it was huge!
It would bloom all summer long and cover the garage in an explosion of red flowers. When they were done blooming, there was an incredible trail of red petals on the ground!
Honestly - it looked as though he had just hosted an Indian wedding! ;-)
It was spectacular to me! 
He would then 'dead-head' the stems….and within a few weeks……MORE roses would appear.
And he would go through the whole thing again! All summer long!
It was like magic to me! (Granted I was NOT the one who had to water and feed the plant, nor was I the the one - who had to nor clean up after it… I guess that is why it was such an amazement to me!)
At the end of the year, he would never prune it back, and so year after year that rosebush got bigger and bigger and bigger!!! It got SO huge that I named it "Audrey 3".
(If you don't know why I named her that - I seriously question your commitment to this blog! ;-)
Honestly, I thought Audrey would just keep growing and growing and growing until it completely obscured the garage! A sea of red flowers! 
Like a giant float in the Orange Bowl Parade. 
Then this year, something changed. 
It is hard to pinpoint what changed, but overnight - or rather over a long cold bitter winter, poor Audrey kinda gave up. As the spring came, we waited to see the first buds on that big beastly vine…..we waited patiently……I mean, nothing had changed… surely Audrey would be as beautiful as ever and perhaps grow 3 times LARGER! 
Alas, it was not to be. After a month of waiting, there were no signs of life on the branches closest to the top of the garage. It appeared that there was no green ANYWHERE……my Dad tried new fertilizers and spent some dough almost desperately trying to get her green again…..but it was no use.
The result was this………

This is the lion's share of what was left of my Dad's prized rosebush.
Yup. Two pails full of prickly sticks.
The process of us cutting Audrey down was painful.
She fought back….but we hacked and hacked at the thicket until it was all off the garage.
I bled. He bled…..honestly, it looked like I had been mauled by Roy's white tiger!
It was a lot of blood-letting work, and was actually quite sad. 
My poor Dad (who is rather stoic) even remarked about how sad it was that his rosebush wouldn't be there - covering the the garage with her spectacular blooms this year.
It only took one terrible winter to destroy something that he had worked on for a decade!!!!!!

Sad story or interesting parable????

It is sad….but do not lose hope…..this story does NOT have a tragic terrible ending. 
You see, my Dad, never one to give up, kept watering and caring for Audrey! So even when it looked the most bleak…..he kept trying to bring her back to life!
Then something amazing happened!
After we cut away all the dead, un-useful growth, there was new growth beginning!
Yes! Audrey had some fresh new vines, and some healthy leaves!!
Now, would she be the elaborate display that in pervious years people had marvelled at??
But there is now a glimmer of hope! 
This year, she will be a bit smaller, with a few less roses, but as God is her witness she WILL have roses again! (Sorry…..I was channeling Julia Sugarbaker there :-)

Ok…here is the interesting part for me……..It was only as we talked about it more that I thought it was a parallel story for how I have been feeling the last 2 years……you see…….
I have worked for 10 years to grow something rather magnificent from a 'failed' start. 
It began by making a change that would create new growth. I began to reap the benefits of hard work -- watching things grow bigger and better year after year! From my passion and hard work I created something kinda amazing (a full time career doing what I loved the most -- creating beautiful things)! But then, out of the blue, something unplanned happened (a.k.a. the economy "tanked") and what was left, was a huge unmanageable prickly beast! Last year, I did EXACTLY what my Dad did at the beginning of the season…...I tried to make that old vine come back to life…..spending money and time on projects that would pump life into my career again….to no avail. Eventually I realized that it was time to cut things down to size….it hurt. It was like a million thorns bleeding me dry…..
(Oh Rob, you really are a drama queen!)
But then this year, I finally see new growth again!!!!!
Are things as great as they were 3-4 years ago? 
Not really…..but now I have a smarter plan for my growth, and a keen awareness that when the tough times come around again, I will be able to cut things down to grow them back stronger than ever!
It is your classic 'phoenix-from-the-ashes' story or maybe a 'roses from the dead vines' story! 
Am I right???
But I think the best moral of my story is…….

Don't let a bunch of pricks keep you from growing your beautiful roses!!

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