A bed of roses.

In my garden is a climbing rose.
It was growing here long before we bought this house.

It’s years have imbued it with beauty, with magnificence.
And it smells incredible.


When we moved here there were two, possibly three, enormous conifers growing in the garden. So big were these trees that it was impossible to judge the size of the garden, or see how light the house would be once they were removed. They dominated the outside space, slicing it in half.

On buying the house we immediately got these trees removed.

Our garden now looked decidedly post- apocalyptic, but in the ruins we found plants that had lain dormant for many years. A peony was discovered under some rocks, a bay tree, which remained small because of it’s position under the trees, finally got to see the light of day.
And in the corner, climbing a side wall, out of sight of the house, the rose was growing.


I want to be splendid and fruitful into my old age, like this rose.

If this is to be a possibility I need to pay attention to the seasons of my life.

Wayne Muller says;

“To surrender to the rhythms of seasons and flowerings and dormancies is to savour the secret of life itself”.*

Everything in nature shows us the way. Points to the truth that we cannot be visibly growing and producing all the time. We need to rest. We need to allow for quiet times of nourishment, for times when the work that is happening is not visible.

This is not something I find easy.

Even aside from the desire to be constantly active, I want to feel useful, and productive, all the time.

For those of us brought up with the idea that a strong work ethic trumps everything else, rest is hard to stomach, dormancy can feel wasteful.

But every living thing needs seasons of inactivity.

Where no flowers are visible.

It would be ridiculous for me to expect my rose to produce flowers all year round, to look for new buds in October and flowers at Christmas.

In the same way, I must allow for, expect even, periods of quiet in my life, where roots are being strengthened deep under the ground. Where the good work that is taking place, is occurring out of sight.

I think of all the years the rose in my garden couldn’t flourish due to its limited sunlight and lack of attention. But, all this time when it was not able to produce the beautiful blooms it now showcases year after year, it was growing strong in the earth, developing a network of complex roots. It was storing up potential, pregnantly waiting for the moment when it would dazzle.

The writer of Ecclesiastes talks of there being a season for everything, ‘a time for every purpose’.

Let us not ignore, or try and rush through the periods of rest and recovery, but see these as essential.

Let us give healing the time that it takes.

And welcome the times of calm nourishment away from the frantic whirl of more and bigger and better.

And yes, I am talking about this slow process of recovery I, and we as a family, have been on. But this rhythm is one that needs to be established in every day, every week.

For Sabbath rest to replenish. For relaxation or meditation to calm and bring clarity.

Without these stopping points our lives become a whirl of activity and appointments. And this busyness doesn’t allow for the reflection and clarity we need to make good decisions and enjoy the fullness that life has to offer.

To let go of the need to maintain the appearance of continual growth and expansion, is to make way for a life that will bring a greater beauty.



One suggestion to try and bring a moment of rest into today (and I’m preaching to myself here, but feel free to join me):

Let us find some time, even five minutes, to stop, and give our full attention to something beautiful, a flower, or a painting, or a piece of music. Let’s put down our work and turn off our phones, make a cup of tea and allow for beauty to restore us. Let’s give ourselves that gift of a moment of calm in the hectic and in the words of Wayne Muller, “join the rhythmic dance to which we unavoidably belong”.*


Ps. For the observant, the last two photos are of a new rose I have planted in the front garden. Hope they grow as well as my old beauty.

*Quotes are taken from Sabbath, Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest, by Wayne Muller


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