What about the thorns?

October 20, 2022

I saw this quote, some time ago in the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Anyone can love a rose, but it takes a lot to love a leaf.  It’s ordinary to love the beautiful, but it’s beautiful to love the ordinary.”  (Unknown)

It is true that it is easier to love the rose than it is to think enough about the leaf to love it, too. Life has many more leaves than roses, but we tend to just look past them and focus upon the roses – the beautiful things and people that we encounter in our lives or that we strive to achieve.

But what about the things that are not only not beautiful, but perhaps even painful in life – the thorns that we encounter. If there is beauty in loving the ordinary in life, maybe there is even more beauty in leaning to love the thorns.

Both the leaves and the thorns are an integral part of the rose bush that produces the roses, just as the ordinary, day-to-day things that we experience and even the painful or hurtful things that we endure are a part of life. We must learn to love them, too.

Most of the “thorns” that we experience in life are not necessarily harmful or painful; they are just things that didn’t turn out the way we had hoped or envisioned that they would. They may be failures or disappointments or even rejections.

Just like the experience of grabbing a rose stem the wrong way teaches us about thorns and causes us to use a different approach the next time, we also learn from the life thorns that we encounter. “How we handle what’s ahead of us will be determined by what we learned from everything that’s behind us.”  (Craig Lounsbrough)

I’m not sure that we can ever learn to love the thorns that we encounter in life; however, we can decide to learn from them to make the road ahead a little less bumpy and dangerous – a little more beautiful. We can accept them and learn from them.

I find it sadly interesting that it seems to be easier to focus upon and love the ordinary and even the thorns in life once one gets older. When we are young, we are so focused and consumed with the pursuit of “getting ahead” in life (the roses that we are reaching for) that we don’t take the time to appreciate the ordinary (the leaves), much less to love the thorns.

I’m not sure that love is the right way to describe the ability to accept and learn from life’s thorns. Perhaps “appreciate” is a better description of the change that occurs as we get older or maybe just “accept” works best. One stops taking life for granted and becomes thankful for each day – for the ordinary and even for the thorns that come along with the day.

So, go ahead and stop and smell the roses, but also pause to appreciate the leaves and even to accept the thorns.  They are all part of this wonderful journey called life. What will you learn from today?