I walk along the path. This place where everything reaches me. The past. The present. Glimpses of the future. It’s as though time has no existence. I am simply strolling through every memory, crying through every trial, holding every loved one, leaving them just the same. So I walk, led by rose petals. The rose petals that have grown from my heart, that have become actions, and fallen to make a path for me. The path winding in many different ways. So, I walk, remembering.
The wide desert closes in on me as I walk through the vastness, following my rose petals, and the actions that have grown from my heart. I find the gray rose petals littering my pathway. The time I ran from the truth of his past. Running, although forgiving. Too scared to slow down. Too overwhelmed to stop. The gray rose petals begin to disappear as I leave that time. I see red rose petals piling by a swing. I am no longer in the vast desert, but in a place where love had just begun to change me. To show me what forgiveness was, what friendship meant, what together could mean for two people. Red rose petals.
But then, those are swept away to sorrow. Wilted orange rose petals fly around my feet in unrest. Suggesting change. Suggesting pain. The loss of a best friend and the presence of unanswered fears that were rooted from the failing of my body. These rose petals bring me to the white gate. I sat there, crying. Calling out to God. Begging Him. Giving Him all, and yet still feeling so broken. The wilted orange breaks through to blue. Blue rose petals lighter than air gently fall through my hair. This time of peace, when I came to accept the brokenness of my body. When I released both my heart and my health into God’s care. When I knew that I could die and be completely at peace with that reality.
Green rose petals group together in piles all along the forest path. Green rose petals hardly recognizable in the forest, but rose petals nonetheless. This path showing my growth. As the forest slowly takes me from girl to woman. The rose petals of green become more apparent as my walk goes on. All growth takes time to see.The forest opens into a parking lot. A parking lot full of people that I begin to know as time wears on. Yellow rose petals fall like rain as I find friendship in people I would not expect. People that become my friends. Yellow rose petals fall gently all over the dark pavement. The pavement hardly noticeable as the petals cover space and bring people closer together.
I walk from the parking lot, continuing on a journey that reaches me. My past. My present. The glimpses of my future. I walk through the forest, because I am still growing. I walk through the desert one last time. I sit on the gate to remember God’s strength. I pass by the swing to reflect on the beginning of truth. And then, I find myself walking towards a place that I have not known before. It is then that I feel his presence. I glance at his face, but turn away quickly. I do not know who he is. He must have seen me in the parking lot and followed me here. My thoughts are jumbled as the pieces come together. If he followed me from the parking lot, then he followed my pathway of memories. Then, he sat on the white gate, he ran through the desert, he saw me on the swing, he walked with me through the forest. To confirm my suspicions, I look his way one more time, and hold his gaze for a moment. Within his hands, held very carefully, is one rose petal of every color, for every memory, in every fear and every joy. Though, he did not experience with me the places of my past, he held them carefully in his hands. Yet, I still don’t know him.
I slow my walking, hoping that he will catch up, but still hesitant to let someone so close. I stop and turn around once again. The rose petals of my past, the ones grown from my heart are still cradled in his hands. He finally speaks, though slow, concentrated. Pausing so that the words release the way his heart wishes them too. I silently wait. Taking in this man. Seeing vulnerability, yet strength. His words come through the silence. “I know that you don’t know me. I know that this is sudden. I also know that I want to be your friend. I want to know you.” I look at him, this man holding the rose petals of my past, and should he hold the rose petals of my future? The answer is simple really. Anyone willing to follow behind someone for a time, is someone that you should let walk next to you.
My time to consider this man is short, because I want to know him too. I want to hold the rose petals that have grown and fallen from his heart. I know nothing of him, yet something pulls me to him. “Yes. Walk with me, please.” His smile lighting not only his eyes, but mine as well. A smile that pulls both care and guidance together. The one that says, “I will help you, but I will care for you too.” That is his smile in response to my answer. We walk along a path. No longer am I reflecting on the past, but living in the present. Walking with this man. Occasionally, he hands me a rose petal from his past. A color of a memory that he wants me to see. Some days it’s the wilted orange and others it’s the burning red, the peaceful blue, or the growing green. He places these within my hand. In essence, I cradle his heart in my hands as he gives me more and more rose petals from his past.
Time passes and we come to a bench. It’s sitting alone in a field. Several trees grow behind it. I notice that for a moment the rose petals are nowhere to be seen. It is just me and him alone in a field. One bench. I wonder why we have been taken this way. What does this place mean? This place that will become a part of both our hearts. I slowly take a seat on the bench. I watch as my best friend takes off his shoes and sits beside me. I take off mine as well. It is a beautiful fall day. We sit on the bench, barefoot in an open field. Then, I see it. The sky a deeper shade of blue, and there are millions of fallen leaves around our feet. The fallen leaves scattered about everywhere. The rose petals are missing, but only for a moment, because this day, these leaves, represent a new memory for our pathway. I turn my face to him as we sit in this open field. I begin slowly, hoping that my words reach him in the way I need them too. “This fall day represents me. These leaves represent me. They have fallen everywhere, and that is what they are supposed to do. It was time for them to fall. So, they did. These leaves are like my heart. The leaves have fallen, just as I have fallen for you. Falling for you was my choice and it was time for me to fall.” I pause letting the words sink in, but knowing I have more to say. I begin again. “God issues the leaves to fall. It is his plan for them to fall. And, it was in His plan that I fall for you. Perhaps, you have fallen too. Because, once we have fallen together, we can grow and bloom for God in ways that only two people can.”
He sits there silently. Clearly taking in every word and all it’s meaning. I run my bare feet through the leaves piled around our bench. He looks to the side, then he breaks the silence. “You know, that is the whole reason that we fall. So we can grow together in ways that only 2 people can. We don’t fall for us, we fall for Him.” I reflect on the wisdom of his words, realizing that the rose petals stopped coming, but only for this moment. The moment that tested whether we would realize the true reason for our friendship. It isn’t for us, but rather for God. Our rose petals will represent times both good and bad. Tears and laughter. Fear and joy. But, it is about the One who we will trust through every color and every memory.
Suddenly, the field is swirling with rose petals. They are falling from the sky ,and filling the entire field with their color. They flow around our feet, they fall through my hair, and catch in small whirlwinds around us. Purple for passion. Red for love. Green for growth. Yellow for friendship. Pink for laughter. Blue for peace. We laugh together, because it is beautiful. This open field of fallen leaves and rose petals like gentle rain that overtakes us. I take his hand because I know we are falling the right way. He spins me in a circle and we are dancing as two people do when their world is full of unscathed beauty. He stops me suddenly. We are standing together in the middle of the open field, and the rose petals are still flying around us. He looks into my eyes, deeper. Begging me to see his heart as he speaks his words. And I do.
Then he starts to speak, “There will be black rose petals. There will be gray. There will be wilted orange, and times where purple and red are misguided. Times when they are not lived as they should be. Stay with me. Remember why we have fallen. The reason we are together.” My hands frame his face and all I can say to him is, “Yes.” And I hope he understands the fullness of that word. He smiles, and then we are running through an open field of friendship and fallen leaves as rose petals cast their colors around us.
Now, our hearts bloom in colors and memories that we make together. The green rose petals become more prominent, because two people grow better together than alone. We look to the One who helps us grow the green roses. The One who comforts us through the wilted orange. The One who gives us the strength as we move through the gray and black. We seek the Gardener as He carefully grows our red. The red that can’t burn too hard, too fast. But a slow red, one that develops over time.The red that becomes deeper shades every day. The Gardener grows our roses, and we leave our rose petals in a pathway that becomes our journey. And we remember each and every day why we have fallen.
And we are as fallen leaves, experiencing the raw beauty of rose petals.