A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dave's Deep Thoughts - A Rose Unseen

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.
A rose for Valentines Day
It's was tradition of mine,
given to a mom who had been widowed for several years.

Just a simple way to let her know
that she was loved and cherished.

When I would walk into her home in the days following Valentines,
I expected to see the rose on display in a highly visible location.

I should have known better.

the rose could be found on a table
in a closed off room.

A room closed off
from the rest of the house
in an effort to conserve heat........

a room that she rarely entered.

"Mom, why don't you bring the rose
out into the living space
so that you can enjoy it?"
I would ask her.

I am not sure why I asked a question
to which I already knew the answer.

But I did.

"Oh, it will last longer if it stays in the cool."
she would say.
While I had long understood botany,
and the rose's aversion
to warm temperatures,
I had greater difficulty
understanding the purpose
of a beautiful rose not seen.

But that was my mom.

She was a packer.

No, not the football type.
The storing, put away type of packer

Even in her last season of life,
where dementia was her constant companion,
somethings did not change.

She was a packer.

She put things away.
She didn't live for the moment,
but was always preparing for the future.

Roses were placed in seclusion for longevity.
New dresses were placed in the closet for a minimum of six months before the first wearing.
Restaurant gift certificates were placed on the shelf for a later season.

Perhaps it was something from her childhood,
a child of the Depression Era,
growing up in rather austere conditions on a farm.....
but she believed in getting the most out of what she had.

Her Pennsylvania Dutch roots called it "storing up,"
saving up for a rainy day.

She would spend her summers
canning and freezing every type of vegetable and fruit imaginable,
so that there would be food on the table during the snows of winter.

She would save every penny possible from paychecks,
so that college tuition for her children would be available in its time.

She would store old devotionals
so that they could be re-read in the quiet of later years.

She was a packer.

And so when she received
 a rose on Valentines,
she didn't need to see it to know that she was loved and cherished.
Knowing that it resided in the other room was enough for her.

My mom was a packer.

But she was also a woman of great faith.
She knew that what was visible was not the final answer.
She knew that what was unseen
was even more important than what was seen.

Things like, faith, hope, and love which are measured in eternal terms.

This was the first Valentine's Day
without her.
And so, on February 14th,
I placed a rose on her grave.
I don't think that she saw it,
but that is okay......
she rarely did see any of the roses that I had given her.
But I am sure that she knew it was there.
This was the first Valentines
where she was able to see what was previously unseen.
Heaven, the throne, her Lord.
I doubt that she was very much surprised when she arrived,
for she had known all along that it was there.
After all, she spent a lifetime "storing up" for it.
That is how it is with those who are packers.
Don't hoard treasure down here
where it gets eaten by moth
and corroded by rust -worse! - stolen by burglars.
Stockpile treasure in heaven where it is safe
from moth and rust and burglars.
It's obvious isn't it?
The place where your treasure is,
is the place you will most want to be,
and end up being.
Matthew 6:19-21 (The Message translation)

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