Sunday, May 29, 2011

roses and Oprah

There's a rose in my garden that has no business being there.  It started out as an errant rose hip carried over by a fateful wind, or one of the neighbourhood dogs.  My landlords tried to pull it out when it first appeared but a couple of weeks later the rose was back.  I believe that tenacity should be rewarded so I started watering it secretly every time I got the hose out for my herb garden.

This morning I was out there again doing the first big weed out of the season and there's my rose, three times its size, full of promise and tangled around the base of it are several of the strawberries I'm sure I pulled out last summer when they staunchly refused to fruit.  I think the pair of them are laughing at me, but it's such a good joke I decided to join in.

As I sat there pulling weeds out from around the base of the rose and its rebellious friend I couldn't help but think how little it takes to encourage or destroy.  One twist of the wrist and there would be no rose in my garden, only a scar on the ground.  But a little water when I was out there anyway, not even a special trip and there will be glorious roses in a few weeks.  (And if I'm very lucky maybe even a few strawberries if the kids upstairs don't get to them first.)

It made me think about the people in my life and how we all have those moments when we are as vulnerable as the first shoots of a rose and a word spoken thoughtlessly is all it takes to snap us.  And yet, the opposite holds true as well.  Sometimes a little water, when you were already there anyway, is all it takes to let a dream take root.

I think that every gardener is a philosopher.  It's hard not to be when gardening lets you play at being God a little.  When the bulbs come back in the spring or the tomatoes finally turn red I sometimes think of that line from a movie when Jim Carrey calls out "I have brought forth life!!!" It's only pretend of course, we are not the life-bringers, not really.  I have yet to make my very own rose hip, or even a simple bean.  But we are life-bringers, we can be when it comes to the people placed around us.

I look at that rose now and it would not be so easy to get rid of these days.  Its roots are deep, it has a firm grip on the stairs leading up to the deck.  That rose had a champion, a friend just when it needed one.  I've been watching some of the last few Oprah shows and in one of them she talks about the importance of telling someone that you see them, that you hear them. She spoke of her fourth grade teacher who was the very first person who showed her that she had value.  There was a clip in one of the shows where Oprah had been trying to help someone and this other lady said "I needed you to say that you liked me and you never did."

And Oprah just shook her head and said, "No, I don't accept that.  I sat in the audience and gave you the stage I believed in you so much."

The next response was the one that so stayed with me.  She said, "I didn't even know what it was Oprah.  I couldn't see it, can you hear that? I didn't even recognize it."

I know that there are people in my life and there are people in yours too, who are so used to hearing the bad things, the ugly things that they can't even recognize the good things when they see them.  They don't even know what it is.  I don't know how to fix a person who's broken like that, but I do think that it can begin with something as simple as water.  It can begin with saying "I see you, I hear you."  I see things in you that are admirable and good, things to be celebrated and encouraged.

Oprah often talks about people not realizing their own power and I think that's true.  We can do more good than we know and more harm than we realize.  We are stronger than we know, and wiser (most of the time). We are capable of change and built for forgiveness.  And on the days when we are the little rose, unwanted and tugged on by an unfeeling hand, we are each of us, just as worthy of that water.


essay writing help said...

interesting article) but i need to say that i dont like oprah much...

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