More Thorns Than Roses

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Every rose has its thorn, but the thorns also have their rose. 

I am a pessimistic realist. (My husband says that just makes me a pessimist.) I look at life in a very straightforward way but I do typically expect that “anything that can go wrong, will.”

I’m also a little obsessive over fairness. Because life isn’t fair but I really wish it was. I get upset easily over injustices. I actually count out every candy as I put in in the Christmas stockings to make sure the boys get equal amounts. Yes, I am that crazy.

One thing that really bothers me is how much more unpleasant things there are in life than pleasant ones. Hot weather, cold weather, windy weather – why can’t it be calm and warm and perfect, at least half the time? Why can’t children be mild mannered and happy at least half the time? Heck, I’d settle for equal weather or emotions across the board. We can divide into thirds or fourths or fifths or whatever, it doesn’t have to be halves.

Life isn’t fair and anyone who has lived it for more than a few years can tell you so. We grow up with big dreams that often aren’t realized. Some people are rich, some are poor, and in either case, it can be a blessing or a curse. Health varies. Appearances and abilities vary.

Even when it seems life is on track, things don’t always go as planned. You find someone you love and want to spend forever with and they love you back and you get married to be able to spend all of your time together, and then you have work. And that leaves little time to spend together. You want children desperately and then when you get them, you spend a great deal of your time frustrated, angry, or hurt (physically or emotionally!) because of them.

It’s easy to see the things that are wrong. I mean, for crying out loud, song lyrics and sayings point them out! “Every rose has its thorn” for instance.

But I got thinking about that phrase one day while I was looking at stained glass windows of roses and I came to a profound realization. I looked at that flower and how beautiful it was. Then I saw that the stem had 7 or more thorns along it. One flower. Seven thorns. That’s not equal. “Every rose has its thornS” is more like it!

And it bothered me at first, because I’m in the habit of being bothered by inequality. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that roses are the perfect life analogy. Yes, there are many thorns on that stem and only one beautiful flower. But that one flower, even though it’s only one, is more than enough to make up for the many thorns. If it wasn’t, we would have ceased cultivating roses.

So maybe the days are more windy and cold than not. Maybe the kids have more rotten attitudes than good. Maybe you have to work for your money and work on your appearance and work for your talents. But aren’t all those thorns worth the times when the weather is perfect and your children are adorable? Wouldn’t you put up with 7 times the trials for the one beautiful moment?

Yes, it’s easy to see the things that are wrong. But if we’re looking at it right, it’s easier to see what’s right. After all, we don’t call it a thorn bush.

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