Confession: I can’t grow roses. I have three rosebushes by my last count, although bushes is admittedly stretching it a little. Rose sprigs would come closer. Or rose sticks. None of them bloomed this year (too busy battling inhospitable soil and Japanese beetles, I presume) save one lone flower that pushed its way out in September.
It made me think of my graduation motto, from the days when I was sixteen and starry-eyed.
Sacrifice: the bud for the rose, what I am for what I may become.
Which in retrospect seems like a kinda dumb thing to lay out for myself, a somewhat lacking life verse. Full of my activism and ambition – I am going to totally rock this maturity thing and grace the world with my presence, etc. But hey, I thought it was nice, although somewhat self-consciously.
It didn’t help that my motto reminded my big brother of Budweiser’s slogan, in our family of teetotalers, and he’d insert it at every opportunity, in a voice husky with meaning, just to get me. This bud’s for you!
(That might be grass, coming up behind the rosebud. So that could be another battle it was fighting.)
I couldn’t have known then that growth is only infrequently something we have the courage to choose for ourselves. Or how unwelcome that process would be, surprisingly unlike the unfolding of gracious petals that the rose watcher observes, whatever the rose may feel. Or that, shockingly, I wouldn’t feel more wise and winsome at, say, 37 than I did at 16.
So I wish I had picked something a touch more savvy.
Plus I like being a bud. It’s comfy.