Great Grandma’s Singular Rose

05-14-2015

After seeing my fill of plastic eggs with their day-glo colors, it came as a relief to finally see something of real color and beauty.

Great Grandma’s backyard is one of those spacious areas that children must believe stretches on forever. Little legs get tired just running the length of the lawn, and when they do, there are plenty of sights and smells along the way: lawn ornaments, a massive orange tree, grapevines growing against the fence line, and a variety of wind chimes that ring with all manner of fantastic tones. The place is a simple wonderland.

My favorite touch? Right before reaching the brick fence at the back of the property, a steep hill climbs about five feet to reach the base of the fence. This makes for some good slopes for rolling, for more challenging races across the yard, and for some big jumps off the top of the slope. Am I still a little boy at heart? Yes, yes I am.

This sprawling backyard is also a great place for the annual Easter Egg hunts for the growing number of kids in our family. Grandma enlists the adults to help her hide what feels like a few thousand eggs all over the yard while impatient kids raid Great Grandma’s somehow bottomless candy jar. Because, you know, the coming wave of sweets somehow won’t be enough.

Finally, Grandma calls the kids out to the lawn to start their mad scramble. They could care less what they’ll find inside at that moment — they just know that they want those eggs. At least, the older kids do. The youngest ones require a bit of coaxing or carrying in order to ensure that something is left even for them. For a zany ten minutes, the kids hunt and search with abandon.

When all the eggs are found and counted, I marvel at just how many faux eggshells I’ll need to lug home later that day. I suspect this is precisely why families invest in the enlarged cargo space of mini-vans and SUVs. Sigh. Something about that mass of thin, plastic eggs is overwhelming and hollow to me.

This Easter, while the kids cracked open their eggs for the treasure inside, I wandered around the yard myself. And despite the fact that I had walked this yard oh, so many times before, I noticed a few thorny branches of a pruned rosebush with a single, pink rose growing out from the top. It was the sole blossom on the bush, and something had caused it to bloom prematurely. I couldn’t stop looking at the thing. It was as though it brought me relief from the barrage of plastic and noise and processed sugar. It was real, unexpected, and beautiful. I took this photograph along the way.

When Easter rolls around, I suspect that my tolerance for kitzch and rabbits who leave behind eggs is at an annual low. The day is a celebration of the wonderful and impossible resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, and I suppose my hope is that he and his great rescue plan is not hidden behind layers of playful Easter tradition. After all, he was the one who came to “seek and save the lost”. He came to lead his own adventurous hunt for the precious people he loves, with implications far greater than the egg hunts that we lead.

This simple and singular rose reminded me of the Christ and his lifestyle. How unexpected, how fragile, and how exceedingly wonderful to find this rose, and the Savior, in a place like this.

Hang this photo on your wall


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Where have you made some of your fondest Easter memories? Tell us about it in the comments!

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