Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Roses DO come back after pruning (or "3 Weddings and No Funerals yet")

I was out in the garden late one afternoon recently, taking a break from my usual flurry of "drive the minivan, drive the minivan, drive the minivan... study... go to class...drive the minivan"... because I needed to prune the roses yet again.  I gave those bushes a really serious cut-down in late August, when everything looked shriveled, and then another cut-down in early October, and yet, their optimistic beauty keeps coming back.  They bloom, they shrivel, they get cut back. And then, while I'm busy going about the rest of life... they come back.

 It got me thinking about some really drought-resistant, late-blooming people in my life lately. 

It was an interesting summer in terms of the social scene. I've been to THREE weddings, and I've got in-hand an invitation to a bridal shower for a bride who will tie the knot in December.

Most of the people in my friend-set had their kids in their late 20's and into their 30's, and so our kids are not yet at the getting married stage.  And you wouldn't expect there to be many weddings of people my age. But still, there is it is -- three weddings this summer.

The folks in my age group have all been married for decades...

Except for the ones who aren't.

At that includes several people who had thought they'd never be married, for various reasons,

one who had no idea she'd find love in her 70's,

and two more who'd thought they'd never marry again.

With each wedding announcement, there's been laughter and broad smiles, and a different kind of delight from the the kind that accompanies those breathless 20-somethings, with their blissful ignorance of what lies ahead.  The feeling I've had as I've gotten the wedding invitations this summer has been a mixture of joy and admiration: joy that at last, these relationships have come to the place of celebrating their love publicly, and an admiration for the way these remarkable people have lived life to this point. 

One of these couples consists of two 50-ish women who, in their 20's probably never dreamed that they'd one day stand in the living room of a lovely wine-country house and make their vows to each other, in the company of family and friends.

Another couple consisted of a man and a woman who'd each been in two previous marriages, and had endured painful, life-altering divorces, and had spent a number of years together quietly "testing" to see if what they had would last.  It has.

The story of She and He is even more surprising.  She is a brilliant scientist and educator. She's got a Ph.D. and blonde, blue-eyed, California-girl good looks.  When her biological clock was ticking really loudly, and Mr.Right just hadn't appeared yet, she decided to pursue her dream of being a parent, even though it meant single parenthood.  Some people around her warned her that adopting kids meant that she was cutting down on her chances to find that special man.  But she felt God prompting her to make a home for two terrific boys who needed a Mom. She and those boys found each other, bonded, and marched ahead through life as a family of three who faced the challenges of special health needs, life in a single parent home, and thrived.  And then one day, She reconnected via Facebook with He, a quick-witted, kind, handy guy she'd known decades before as a marching-band friend in college... throw in lots of late-night online chatting, several very inconveniently situated dates involving road trips between Northern and Southern California, a Valentine's Day proposal on the Golden Gate Bridge and...

Fast forward to August of 2014:
Yup.  They are now Mr. and Mrs. Hyphenated Last Names, with two boys to raise and the rest of their lives to revel in how God's timing is not constrained by conventional wisdom.

So, these days as I watch Winter move closer, the daylight getting shorter, the rain (halleluja!!) finally start, and the last of my 1964 cohort reach the half-century club with me, I am holding onto the idea that the prunings of the past couple years will lead to some blossoming in my own life.  I just have to let go of the idea that I have any control over that timing.  

And in the meantime, it's time to fire-up the Mom-taxi, right after I chuck a load of laundry in the machine, turn the soup down to "simmer", and finish a couple of response papers for class... 



  1. Val.....you are a treasure. Keep on writing.

  2. Thank you, my ever-blossoming friend.