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Roses and thorns

I read the following quote last week, and for some reason it has really been on my mind ever since: “We can complain because roses bushes have thorns, or we can rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”  

Now, at first read, one might think this quote was quite silly – since we all know they are rose bushes, not thorn bushes. But if one really thinks about this particular plant, it always has thorns but does not always have rose blooms to enjoy.

This quote has been connected to our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. President Lincoln did mention roses and thorns when in 1850 he delivered a eulogy for Zachary Taylor, who was the 12th president of the United States. Lincoln spoke these words:

“The presidency, even to the most experienced politicians, is no bed of roses; and Gen. Taylor, like others, found thorns within it. No human being can fill that station and escape censure.”

Regardless of who might have first written the words to the quote, when giving thought to the message, it can be quite profound.

It really reminds me of how we choose to live our lives: We can be happy and thankful for the blessings we have been given by God, or we can look at situations and worry about the bad that could happen or why others might have received more than us.

We can almost compare this to the glass half full, half empty illustration. Many times, the situation is all in how we look at it.

We can consider our blessings – such as that we have a job that helps to support our families, even when Monday morning comes around, and we have to hear the alarm clock going off. We have a vehicle to drive that gets us where we are going, even though we have to spend money to put gas in it and money to keep it maintained.

Many times, I look at our hometown and strive to see it in the same positive way. We have great schools, recreational areas for all ages, safe community, second-to-none police and fire and dedicated folks who work to keep our town clean and our streets in good shape. We are blessed to be “The City of Southern Hospitality,” and it is more than just words.

There is nothing better than walking down the sidewalks of our downtown and greeting folks as they stroll down the streets. When dining out with friends and family, and folks come by and talk about how great our city is doing, it warms my heart.

Sure, we might have issues; problems happen at school, your street might have a pothole, your limbs might have to wait another week to get picked up, you might have to park a little farther from a downtown store than you might prefer, and the streets might be a little rough so work can be completed before paving.

But I prefer to see the beauty of our city. While it might have a few thorns, the good very much outweighs small issues that really just might be a small inconvenience.

I thank God for the roses and remember the crown of thorns His Son was forced to wear. Life might not always be the beauty of the roses; thorns will still prick at us; but we can trust Him, and He is always faithful.

The fragrance and beauty of the rose is more magnificent and lasting than the thorns, and the best is yet to come.