Beauty and the Barbs

Recently I ran across the following quote by French critic Alphonse Karr: “Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.”

IMG_4350 - Version 2I am certainly not a fan of those sharp spikes on my backyard rose bushes (how do they still poke through my thick leather gloves?!!), but thorns are part of keeping roses looking pretty. Botanists describe how beautiful, fragrant roses grow thorns to keep creatures from sniffing and tasting the attractive flowers.

Roses and thorns are the beauty and the barbs of Nature. Thorns add protection to the much-admired buds and petals. Roses give thorns an upgrade in appearance and a place to call home.

I wonder what thorns do in our lives. How do thorns protect us from harm? Maybe our thorns are warnings from our parents or traffic speed limits or even friends who speak the truth about our not-so-stellar behavior at times. Or, some thorns may poke us when we’ve neglected our nutrition and exercise or nudge us when we moved God to a far corner in the backyard, over by the overgrown rose bushes.

So as much as I’d like to grumble about roses having thorns, Mr. Karr’s perspective challenges me to find the patches of beauty in my own thorny circumstances. I face thorns, you face thorns. But a key is to keep enjoying life’s roses while respecting the thorns’ presence.IMG_4348 - Version 2

Life offers beauty sometimes right alongside the most painful, thorny situations. Here’s an example: I know of several people hospitalized this week with life-threatening illness/injury, but right in the intensity of the emotions, family and friends are rallying together and estranged relationships are mending. The beauty and barbs are bringing about good and the pleasant looking.

How have you seen beauty and barbs bring about the good and pleasant looking in your life?

(For me lately: My aging dog pokes me with the thorn of his health problems, but my beauty is he still has a cute, fun spirit and he brings me much joy.)

“And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:12

Brave and Resilient Tip #116: We all face thorns. Be sure to notice the beauty of the roses more.