My bouquet of roses from Marnell was so stunning, that it was a very great thorn in my flesh to have to go to work the next morning and leave the bouquet at home. The first day, I worked 13.25 hours, catching only a brief glimpse of the roses at night.
The next day I worked 15 hours.
The longer each day went, the more grievous it became to me that I was not able to see my roses. If only I could have had one day to enjoy them! If only I could have gotten off work early!
The entire bouquet was just too big to drag back and forth to the hospital. On one of those nights, out of desperation to not miss the roses entirely, I arranged a few of them in the plastic Coke bottle with “Lee” on the side.
The next morning I took them with me to work.
“Wow, look at those roses,” people said. “Was it a special occasion?”
“I left most of them at home,” I would say. “Do you want to see the picture?”
I kept working, feeling snappy that I had to be at work instead of at home with the bouquet, making wedding plans. I scratched notes from time to time in the journal from my friend Rosie, and made lists.
“Wow, those are beautiful,” another co-worker told me. “You can tell they’re expensive because they’re not drooping.”
I was glad they liked them, but I still felt unhappy that I couldn’t enjoy them more.
“How are you, sir?” I asked.
“Scared,” he said.
“Hmmm,” I said. “What do you feel scared about?”
“About everything there is to be scared about,” he said.
“Hurricanes?” I asked. “Earthquakes, traffic accidents?”
I’ve learned a very valuable lesson from Dr. Halloran: helping people laugh distracts them from their fears.
“Yeah,” he said, with a little smile.
“Well, Dr. Halloran is an expert, so that’s one thing you don’t have to be worried about,” I said.
“But he was here until 9 o’clock last night,” the patient said. “He shouldn’t work so hard.”
“Yes, we all were here,” I said. “You know what I’m sad about? I just got engaged and I got this beautiful bouquet of roses, and I had to leave them at home and be at work all week.”
“Congratulations,” he said.
“Would you like to see the ones I brought along?” I asked.
I brought them into his room and held them up by the side of the hospital bed. Oh, they were so beautiful!
“Wow,” he said. “Plant the eyes, and you’ll have roses forever.”
“Really?” I asked.
“Or,” he said, “you can put the stem in a potato. Did you find a smart, intelligent man?”
“Not from around here,” he said.
“Yes,” I said, laughing. “He lives in Goshen.”
“You should plant those roses,” he said. “There are a lot of gardeners in Goshen that can help you.”
He was no longer thinking about the fears. He was thinking of the best way to plant roses. He was giving advice about gardening, thinking of the friends he knew who were experts. I knew that the roses had worked a magic they could have never done if I had been home alone with them.
And I was humbled, because God had used the roses to help a hurting person forget his fears. In turn, I was blessed. You will have roses forever. Even though I assumed mine were hybrids, it was such a beautiful thought.
Before he left the hospital I went to check on him again. It was after the weekend, and I hadn’t seen him for a few days. We chatted a little about his progress.
“I’m just stopping to check on you,” I said. I assumed he remembered me, but sometimes people don’t remember well when they are in the hospital.
“You know,” he said, “I’ve been thinking about those roses…”