For Every Thorn, There is A Rose
Bret Michaels sang it best: “Every thorn has its rose…”
Actually, Michaels, the lead singer of a metal band called Poison, belted out the lyrics “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” This was the title of the band’s only number-one song. I remember it well. It was 1988, and I was as about as far away from being a metal fan as humanly possible. But I was in college at the time and it was that kind of power ballad that when it was played in establishments typically frequented by college students on weekends, everyone put their arms around each other and sang really loud and off key, kind of like when Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” is played.
“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” is a song that laments a lost love (shocking for a rock song, I know), using clever lyrics to draw contract between good times and bad in a relationship.
As I was taking an evening walk with my twin two-year old daughters this evening, fighting through Day 4 without power (I am still dumbfounded that BGE officials said they were caught off guard by the storm when I heard reports of 80-mile-per-hour winds whipping through Ohio and heading toward Maryland nearly 12 full hours before the storm hit…but alas the follies of BGE is a story for another time) the lyrics popped into my head as we passed a beautiful rose bush, flush with blooming roses and the requisite thorns.
I was struck by the juxtaposition of the rose bush, how it is was both beautiful and potentially dangerous to hands belonging to little two-year-old girls. Similarly, I thought about how in many instances in life, we have no choice but to take the bad with the good – the thorns with the roses. It’s with or through the bad times in life that sometimes the good emerges. Jesus said as much throughout the Gospels.
To wit, four days without power and five children was a bit thorny for me and my wife. We managed to borrow a generator from a friend to keep our food from spoiling and to point fans on us as we slept in a house that was 85 degrees, but there was no TV, no lights, no laptops or iPads.
These “thorns” though led to beautiful family moments that otherwise might not have occurred. We sat around after dark as a family by candlelight. We talked, laughed and played games. One family game we made up and fondly call, “Would You Rather.” You ask someone a question like: “Would you rather give up pizza for the rest of your life or ice cream?” It’s a game that can get pretty tough, believe me. My wife, Jill, asked me, “Would you rather go on a golf trip with your father to St. Andrews or go on a week-long family vacation in Hawaii?” I made the fatal mistake of pausing and not even the dimly-lit candlelight room could save me. Jill saw my pensive-looking face and just smiled and shook her head.
Now, back to the walk with my daughters. By the time we got back to the house, everyone else had gone out to watch fireworks. Gabby was a bit hot, tired and had been crying, so I broke out some ice cream and she and her sister Ellie joined me on the living room floor. We ate ice cream, laughed, sang, wrestled and in general made memories I will never forget.
If the power had not been out and we hadn’t been sweating like pigs the last four days, the walk and ice cream moments may not have happened. Out of trial came perseverance and out of perseverance, eventually, came joy. Just as James the disciple wrote.
The thorns led to beautiful roses. And then, almost on queue to end a perfect evening, as I was putting Gabby and Ellie to bed, the power came back on and the three of us danced a jig around the house (well, I really did most of the dancing, Gabby and Ellie just looked at me like I was crazy as they smiled and clapped their hands).
The thorns and the roses reminded me of the goodness of God. Yes, we went through four days of minor discomfort, but the tradeoff was family time and memories that will last forever.
Happy Fourth of July to you and yours!
7/3/2012 11:13:46 PM
By Deacon Brent L. Heathcott