I transplanted Ryan’s Rose and it looks like it might die. Ryan’s friends gave it to me on the day of his funeral. I have kept it alive for over five years and it was happy where it was. I planted it there because I had no other place to put it at the time. Last week I dug it up and moved it to the new garden with its completed stone path. From the place I call the sanctuary and where I spend my quiet time, the rose is framed beautifully by my arbor.
I want it to live so desperately. I have been gazing upon it all morning, praying for it to live. I have pruned it, fertilized and gave it water. I have checked on it daily and it still it struggles. Should I have not transplanted it? Did I kill something special? Did I make a mistake? I started this garden to help me work through my grief and to have a place for the rose. It seems that if that rose is not there, then the garden was built in vain.
The past week the lesson seems to be about forgiveness, again. I have had many lessons on this topic. I have taught many lessons on this topic. And yet I feel that I have barely scratched the surface. It is so vast that I have to be spoon-fed small pieces of it. And with each morsel I am given a new awareness. I may never understand the full concept of forgiveness, but that does not mean I can’t learn vital pieces of it. I understand the letting go of hurt and giving it to the Lord. I understand to no longer carry the burden of it. And I also understand that if I remain the victim, I have not truly forgiven. What I do not understand is what to do with the damaged relationship. Am I to forget it ever happened? Am I to stay away? Am I to proceed cautiously? Am I to open myself up to another onslaught of hurt? Some say that my unwillingness to put myself back in the same situation is a sign that I have not forgiven. Am I to put myself back in the line of fire? How is one to forgive and yet protect oneself?
I know I have released the hurt and freed myself from that intense emotion that I felt at the time of the event. I know that I have forgiven. The question now is what do I do with the relationship? Like the rose, it is struggling. It is wilted and barely hanging on. It could die and I will miss its beauty. Am I the one to keep it alive? Or do I wait for the other side’s attempt to save the relationship? Who makes the first move?
The beauty of the relationship was that it blossomed into something that brought me joy. I long for that joy. I want the relationship to stay that way, sweet and beautiful. As this relationship grew, I began to see things I didn’t approve of and eventually I got hurt. Like roses having thorns, so do people. The rose has pricked me so deep that it hurt for weeks, yet I still love the rose. I love it because of where its story began. Being hurt by the rose does not mean I should turn my back on it. I have learned to wear protection when dealing with roses. I continue to nourish it back to health, because I love it unconditionally, thorns and all.
It may be my pride that is in the way of me making the first move to repair the damaged that has been done. I need to be humble enough to try to save the relationship. This does not mean to do so without protection or being on guard. When an event happens in a relationship that requires forgiveness, it changes the relationship. It “transplants” it into a different area and it has to adapt to its new surroundings. Sometimes it requires a pruning, taking it all the way back, so new growth can begin. Sometimes it means a division and the two be planted in different locations. Sometimes it means death to the relationship, but with that there is new ground to plant something else. And what remains is the knowledge of what to do with something new. By not returning to the relationship, it doesn’t even have a chance. It might be wasted energy and I may never experience the beauty that it once had, but I will never know unless I try. I need to decide if it is worth the effort.
Will it be worth the effort to save the rose? Of course it will. If it dies, will I abandon the garden that was created for it? No, I will replace the beloved rose with another to remind me of the first. But if Ryan’s rose lives, this rose with all of its history, it will be spectacular. It will grow strong in its new location. I will gaze upon it from the sanctuary, and I will remember the time that I almost lost it. I will be able to tell the story of how I had to revive it when I transplanted it. How I tended to it and prayed about it. Will that story be about the rose or the gardener? It will be about both, because this rose signifies the love of those friends for a grieving mother, and about the mother loving the rose because of what it signifies.
The final question still remains, when everything is said and done and much has been lost, was it worth it? And the answer would be yes, because I still have the garden that Ryan’s rose inspired me to create, regardless if it is there or not.