Monday, April 22, 2013


A week ago Monday I grabbed lunch at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park.  Following my meal, I discovered this sculpture not too far from the entrance to the subway. 

I stared for a bit, and wondered at the rose in the bird’s mouth.  I have somewhat of a history with roses.  5 years ago, while I was out running in Southern California, this homeless looking man came out of nowhere and placed a long stem rose in my hand.  For me, it was of great significance, because it served as a reminder for me that God is in THIS with me.  And by THIS, I mean the mess and chaos of life – when things aren’t going so well.  For me, a rose has become symbol of hope and encouragement - that God has good things in store for me and my future, and WE are in THIS together.

So I stood in front of this bird, and asked God for a symbolic rose – not the one I was staring at in that moment, but something else to remind me he still cares, and to give me hope for good things to come after such a tumultuous year and a half.  After praying the prayer, I wondered if I should have even bothered.  Because I quickly remembered praying that same prayer back in November after losing everything in the hurricane.  And the only “response” I received was a single, trampled rose lying outside of a Duanne Reade that same evening.  The rose looked like I felt.  It wasn’t beautiful; it had been stomped upon and crushed.

On Wednesday, as I drove out to Jersey to attend Brennan Manning’s funeral the following day, I explained to my friend Amy (from MI) on the phone how I had prayed this rose prayer, and that the symbol of a rose for me is also one of commissioning.  In working in Residence Life, from year to year, each current student leader (RA) would pass on a rose to the incoming student leader.  I explained to Amy, as I say my good byes to one of my writing heroes, perhaps his funeral is the symbolic rose I had prayed for on Monday.  And that I am to continue to carry the baton as writer. 

Thursday I attended Brennan’s funeral...
... at The Church of Saint Rose.

In his book Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning writes,

Send in the artists, mystics, and clowns.  Their fertile imagination pours the new wine of the gospel into fresh wine skins (Luke 5:38).  With fresh language, poetic vision, and striking symbols, they express God’s inexpressible Word in artistic forms that are charged with the power of God, engaging our minds and stirring our hearts as they flare and flame.  (74)

And so I will write.  And keep at this craft, for I know the significance isn't in the accomplishment of completing a book, but rather, in the words and stories that will touch, heal, and shape people's lives.

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