The Write Word

You can grow roses in the desert if you want to.

I’ve never had Ebola, but recently I did come in contact with something just as nasty. It came my way in one of those loud-talking-stranger-in-the-waiting-room kind of experiences.

“That crazy Lisa wears sandals EVERY DAY”.
“ Why would anyone want an ugly chair like this?”
“Those stupid people got my order wrong.”

The poor dear (Southernism for big ol ugly of spirit) 
was infected to the core with a nasty case of MWITRW.
My Way Is The Right Way.

Isn’t it funny how "ugly" is so easy to diagnose in others, 
but so easily hidden in our own lives?  
Several days after the nasty encounter with 
I heard it pop out of my own mouth. 
“What a waste of time that is.” 
I was immediately struck to the heart. 
MWITRW claims another victim. 

It really bothered me, 
this glimpse of ugly in my heart.
 I knew it was deadly and needed surgery, 
so I took it to prayer and the Word.  
Sure enough, when the scalpel cut back 
the flesh of my heart, the sin was exposed.  
Yes, sin.

Romans 12:3 tells us that we should not have 
an elevated view of ourselves, 
in comparing with others.  
We should compare with what God has given us, 
not what we have within ourselves.  

In my dealings with others, I realize, sadly, 
that I have not followed that mandate.
I’m not talking about morality, sin, Biblical truths.  I’m talking about day-to-day lifestyle choices. 

I judged friends who ate at restaurants often.  
It seems like to me, a frivolous luxury.  
It was a huge adjustment for us 
early in our marriage, 
my strong feelings about “wasted” food money. 

I judged people by where they 
bought their clothes, 
kind of a reverse snob thing.  
I’m a second-hand, consignment, 
thrift store lover and was 
harsh in my views of others choices.
I judged people on their recreational activity.
I cannot fathom the attraction to sports, 
and it is beyond my comprehension how anyone 
derives pleasure from watching 
other people throwing, hitting or chasing a ball. 

You name it, I judged it.  
I even caught myself glancing into grocery carts 
and judging their contents.  
Sigh…like I said... ugly.

Thankfully, the Book of Wisdom shined its light 
on my mind and helped me to understand the 
MWITRW is not the disease, 
it is the symptom of the real disease.
The disease of pride.

Some things are not a matter of 
better, wiser or right.  
In judging others choices I was 
pridefully elevating my own.

The sin of pride leads us to draw conclusions 
that God does not draw.  
For example, how one should enjoy roses.

You can grow roses in the desert.  
If you are willing to haul in dirt, amend the soil,
 import the plant, 
drag water out to them every day 
and shelter them from blistering sun.  
Or you could invest in a bouquet from the florist 
every once in awhile.

For a rose gardener the 
financial cost, energy cost, daily time investment 
could be worth the high commitment. 
The bountiful bouquets might hold 
enormous reward for them.  

For someone else, who merely admires roses 
but does not find value in the cultivating process, 
it could be a drudgery, burden, and dread.

How foolish it would be for one to 
judge the other by their own feelings.  
“My crazy sister who lives in the desert 
wastes time, water and energy growing roses,
 how foolish is that?” 
“My crazy brother,
 he wastes money ordering roses from a florist."
  Both ideas assume MWITRW
both rooted in pride of ones own opinion.

That is how it is in life.  
What one person chooses to invest in 
may not be the choice of another.  
One is not better, one is not wiser, 
it is simply a matter of choice.  

One may spend their money eating out, 
while another spends that same money 
on music, garden plants or books.
One may purchase expensive clothing at designer shops, 
while another spends the same amount 
on a vacation, hobby or fishing equipment.  

As long as they are honoring God 
first and best with their money, 
these choices are neither right or wrong,
they are merely choices.

 So the next time I’m tempted to criticize 
someone for growing roses in the desert, 
or for buying roses from the florist, 
I’m going to take out my pruning sheers of wisdom 
and nip pride in its 
ugly bud.