The Rose of Sharon branches dangled in full bloom when I moved into my little white house the summer of 2007. I smiled at the tree’s pink, trumpet-like flowers nodding their welcome. For me, the tree symbolized the joy and delight I felt in buying my first home nestled in a small village surrounded by woodlands and hills. I have always loved roses, and now I felt some special affinity to the tree since it also shared my name. This tree became a symbolic memorial and celebration of this milestone in my life.
Unfortunately the tree’s structure could not boast of its shapeliness. When no blooms honored the tree, the branches forked out in a most grotesque manner. At that point, I was glad the Rose of Sharon was rooted in the back yard. A number of months later, the tree began showing signs of decay. I arrived home from vacation one day to find that my yard man had, indeed, needed to cut down the tree. I could swallow the disappointment of its disappearance because I held in my memory its lovely blooms.
On Saturday another Rose of Sharon tree appeared at my doorsteps. Literally. Let me give you the backdrop. Shari, my young friend, planned a book party celebration in honor of To Have and to Hold’s current release. Shari did it beautifully and didn’t miss one detail. The table, which was coordinated in a pink and white theme, held delightful food, wildflowers in goblets, and in its center the featured book. My friends arrived midmorning to celebrate this occasion. Some were married. Some were single. There was laughter, stories and woman talk. At some point, Shari told me to go the door to see what they brought me. In a hundred years could I have guessed?
Astounded, I saw a small tree standing at the bottom of the steps. I immediately loved the darling little tree with tiny buds. Delighted, I shook my head in wonder. Another Rose of Sharon tree had appeared on my property. Again the tree symbolized yet another milestone. This time it also included all the beautiful women who have walked with me in the book journey of the past five years. The two hours of celebration flew by on wings. The crowning touch of the morning was having these ladies surround me with their gracious prayers. The Saturday celebration will soon be a wisp of memory, but the Rose of Sharon tree will bloom with the beauty of friendship.
Celebrations give pause. Celebrations produce hope. Celebrations suspend time. Momentarily, they bridge heaven and earth. For just a few hours we forget the forge of pain and disappointment. But since we are not Home yet, we also experience the ache of earthly celebrations ending. We then return to face life’s demands. The sweat, dirt, and grime often diminish laughter. We work too long and too hard. There is always one more thing to do. We feel weariness; we shed a few tears. We lose our sense of balance in relationships and stagger uncertainly. Sometimes we just plain lose our grip.
That is why we all need the Rose of Sharon in our life. We need pauses that show us His goodness. And, if we pause long enough, we will hear His music and His call to the dance of an eternal celebration. We, the redeemed, will someday behold the Rose of Sharon in all His glory. His brightness, His beauty, His blessing will beckon us forever to His side. What a celebration that will be!
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified. Isaiah 61:4