My boyfriend took me out for the afternoon and evening. We basked in each other’s company, knowing in a few days we would have to tell each other good bye for a few months. After touring Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum and the Wax Palace, we strolled through the botanical gardens together. Supper plans remained a secret to me until we pulled in to Ruffinos. Two tall flaming torches framed the entrance and a row of smiling staff welcomed us at the door. “Bushnell, party of two, right this way please.” Our waiter ushered us past an elderly man sitting at a table with a bouquet of pink roses, up a short flight of three steps to another level overlooking the rest of the restaurant. Our waiter flipped the light switch on, revealing crisp layered black and white table cloths with sparkling silver and gleaming china. Then I spotted our table in the back corner. The one with a big bouquet of red roses in the center. We sat down and soon a gentleman came and played the piano. Romantic mood music. The older man we passed earlier came up to the pianist and suggested love songs from his young days. We smiled and graciously listened but were rather absorbed in each other. The chef outdid himself and created a fabulous meal for us, even sending out a few dishes “compliments of the chef”. Jacob whispered something to our waiter and soon the pianist magically disappeared, leaving us the only ones in that level. Jacob stood up and moved the table away from me, got down on one knee in front of me (is this really happening to me??!), and asked me to marry him. With all my heart this is what I knew I wanted most in all the whole wide world… to spend the rest of my life with this man. Oh yes! I will marry you!!
Dazzling pure joy. Delighted anticipation. True love.
“She said yes!!!” Jacob announced to the rest of the diners as we stood at the top of the stairs. Everyone cheered and the older gentleman plucked a pink rose from his vase and hobbled up to me. “Here, I want you to put this rose into your bouquet. Every week I buy a dozen pink roses for my wife who passed away from cancer a few years ago. Enjoy each other while you have each other.”
I smiled and thanked him as I nestled the pretty pink rose into my red bouquet.
It’s been five years now…
Our home life is indeed a bouquet of roses. Lots of joy-red ones. Sunshiny smiles and tousled hair in the mornings. Hilarious geeky dictator (think huge glasses and little mustache) snowman in the front yard and warm snuggles on the couch. Fragrant roses on valentines day and little yellow rain boots. A handsome little son who wants to be like Daddy and a darling daughter who loves mommy and her fuzzy hearts blanket. A strong godly man who works hard all day and comes inside to kiss his pretty little wife as she serves up supper.
But there’s also the pain-pink ones. Chronic fatigue and back injury. Long evenings at home for mommy and kids while daddy serves on the local ambulance team. Sharp little fingernails and poopy blowouts. Goose eggs and busted lips. Stepping into stinky doggy bombs and a washer drain hose that falls down and empties a full load of water onto the carpeted floor just before we need to leave for the airport.
Thank you, Jesus, for the joy that fills us up and splashes over and thank you for the pain. It drives us to You.