"Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it."
Proverbs 3:27 (KJV)
Remember the old song, written by A.P.Carter, and originally sung by the Carter Family called,
"Give Me The Roses"?
Here are the lyrics:
Wonderful things of folks are said
When they have passed away
Roses adorn the narrow bed
Over the sleeping clay
Give me the roses while I live
Trying to cheer me on
Useless are flowers that you give
After the soul is gone
Kind words are useless when folks lie
Cold in a narrow bed
Don't wait till death to speak kind words
Now should the words be said
Let us not wait to do good deeds
Till they have passed away
Now is the time to sow good seeds
While here on earth we stay
Here is a link to one of Kevin's and my favorite duos, "Blind Pig & The Acorn".
(If you ever have some time to sit and listen to their songs, it is well-worth your visit there. Their harmony and pickin' is hard to beat. Kevin and I could listen to them for hours!)
We were visiting Mom and Dad Smith, and I walked back behind their house to look for Zachary.
I found him, out near the barn, picking these beautiful flowers.....for Granny.
It touched my heart....he is such a thoughtful, little guy.
We brought them inside, arranged them in a vase, and put them on her dining room table.
It made me think of the words to this song.
I'm glad he seized the moment.
I am always the last one to give up hope.
Even when I know the odds are stacked unevenly, and my gut-feeling is telling me things are not going to turn out well.
I still keep pleading, praying, hoping....that my gut-feeling is wrong.
I stood by Dad's bedside in the cold, frightening Intensive Care Unit....the crushing reality of what was happening sinking completely in to my still-clinging-to-hope senses. The thing I had been dreading all of my life....that nagging fear that had driven me to my knees so many times while growing up, was flooding over me like a tidal wave.
Dad hadn't been well for years. I really don't ever remember a time that he was what you would call real healthy. So, I grew up fearing the worst...any minute....all the time.
I can't ever remember a day that went by that I didn't fear him dying.
I didn't think I could live through losing him....ever.
I knew the end was near. As I stood there, watching him...struggling.....holding on for dear life....literally, I had to face the fact that the dread I had carried for so long was quickly becoming reality. This was the moment...the time...I most had feared.
My thoughts went to the baby I was carrying. Dad's first and only biological grandchild. The fragile state of my own pregnancy....the fertility issues that were putting everything in jeopardy. Could this pregnancy survive the shock and grief of losing one so dear to my heart? Now? Why now, God?
I have always been very quick to tell my parents and loved ones how much I love them and how much they mean to me. But, standing there that dreary day, I felt there were still things I needed to say to Dad. Things he needed to hear. I knew my window of opportunity to do that was closing....very quickly. But, how? How could I communicate with him through the heavy sedation. There were tubes running in and out of him, and the sedative was to keep him calm.
How would I ever know if even heard me....in this sedated state?
Was I too late? To say what I wanted to say? For him to hear what he needed to hear? Before he crossed over?
"Oh, Lord, help me" my heart cried.
I walked to the nurse's station, and I asked her if there was any way she could remove the sedation. I knew it would cause Dad distress, and that pained me. But, I had to give him some roses...some kind words...otherwise, I would never forgive myself.
She reluctantly complied with my tormented request.
As soon as the sedation stopped, Dad began to move around...he was restless...and miserable.
I began to talk...fast. I poured out my heart. And I said what I needed to say.
Could he hear me? Did he understand? I HAD to know.
All of a sudden, I got my answer.
A steady trickle of tears...began to fall...from his eyes.
And, though he couldn't talk back to me....though his tongue was forever silenced...though I would hear his kind, gentle voice no more....I knew he understood. And I knew he fully grasped the meaning of my words.
Oh, thank God! In the nick of time, I gave him the last roses I ever could. And he absorbed their beauty. The nurse came in and reattached his IV.
The next day, Dad was gone.
Is there someone you need to give roses to? Are there words you have been hesitating to say? Thinking you'll always have more time...another opportunity....a second chance?
Sometimes, the chances run out.
Sometimes, there just aren't any more.
And we are left with the aftermath...of regret. Roses that withered on the vine. That were never picked. Never passed on to the one who needed them most.
Why not just go ahead....say what you need to say....do what you need to do....give the roses.
While they live.
While you can.