Sunday, July 27, 2008

Yesterday I spent a good deal of time at the emergency vet with Harry, one of the dogs. Harry can and does eat just about everything, but in this case he had eaten something which hadn't agreed with him, which generally means that it was a razor blade, drain cleaner, or an atomic weapon which has detonated.

However, in this case, it was apparently a ponytail holder.

This side trip to the vet meant that I lost ten hours of time I had set aside to do things around the house, like work in the flowerbeds or file papers or the like. There is so much that I don't get done around here--last year I neglected to mulch the rosebush, and this spring the poor thing was a bunch of dead twigs.

Of course, I felt guilty, but I didn't get to the removal of the rosebush. Last week I noticed that there were green branches in with the brown thorny ones. I decided to let it go a little longer.

This afternoon, while we were waiting for the call back from the vet to see if the dog will need surgery, we decided to let the kids swim in the pool. I looked over at the rosebush, and there were three blossoms.

This has been a rough summer--the kids are bored and challenging, I am never alone, and we have lots of stress and emotional issues to deal with, especially this week. I have always been pretty resilient, dealing with each additional stressor as it comes along, but this week sidelined me; my coping bucket is pretty much empty.

The rose reminded me of something which happened several years ago. We were at our old church, where we attended Mass on Saturday evening. A wedding had taken place earlier that day. Nita, who was about three then, found a rosebud in the pew and handed it to me; I put it in the hymnal rack. When Mass let out, I spoke to Betty, a lady who worked in the rectory, as she left.

Suddenly, something told me, "Give the rose to Betty."

I chased after her and handed her the rose, saying, "Will you please take this home and put it in some water?"

She mumbled some thanks and left.

A couple minutes later, there was a touch on my elbow.

"I want to explain my behavior," Betty said. "You see, my daughter's breast cancer is no longer in remission. And I have been praying the last couple of days for a sign that my daughter will be okay. I've been asking St. Theresa, the Little Flower, to send me a flower as a sign."

I looked down at the rose, which was trembling in her hand, and we both cried.

I'm not the kind of person who asks for signs, nor do I look for any special meaning in things. But this rose reminds me of so many things: first, things are tough right now, but not unbearable; second, there just might be hope when things look like there is none; and, third, we don't know the reasons for things which happen to us.

I am going to take a picture of this rose and leave it on my cell phone as a reminder to myself.

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