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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Memories of The Blue Rose

As those who have been following my blog know well, I have a "thing" about roses, red, white, and blue.

I have posted an ancient Chinese story on the blue rose and referred to the symbolism of this rose many times here. I repeat the story below.

Today, a person I have never met, and not a blog reader, sent me a beautiful scarf with blue roses on it. I take this a little, personal encouragement from Our Father.

The Asians, Chinese and Japanese, have stories involving the blue rose. One of the meanings emphasizes the continued questing of an individual who is working against many odds to accomplish a dream.

The blue rose represents mysticism, mystery, seeking the highest goals, even striving for what is unattainable.

Wearing my new scarf today, a mysterious choice indeed to the person who sent it to me, I am overwhelmed by the goodness of God. This person does not know my preference for the blue rose.

Over the last two days, again, I have given God all my dreams and desires, praying, as I have been for months, but with new vigor that only His Perfect Will be done in my life.

And I get a new scarf....

God is showing me that all my prayers, which seem impossible, like living in Europe in the same country as my son, like having a house of prayer, will be answered despite the impossibility of such prayers--in His own way. I was about to give up, as I am so tired, but this scarf came from far away, and from an unlikely source, to encourage me to trust totally in God..

I reprint the old story from China here...and like the gardener's son in the story, God is patient and true with us, showing us what is in our own hearts, showing us ourselves. When we have eyes to see the wonder of what God is doing in our lives, we accept the blue rose. At the end of the story, one sees that the blue rose is the white one, a symbol of purity, held out in love and simplicity, yet changed to blue in the sun through the stained glass window. Perception is all. And, perfection allows one to see.

The Blue Rose

A folktale from China
Retold by Rose Owens

            There was once an Emperor who had but one child—a daughter.  She was his pride and joy, his treasure.  He cherished her above all else.   As he became old and his health began to fail, he realized that he might not always be there to care for and protect this precious daughter.  He determined that it would be best if he were to find a husband for his daughter. 

        When it became known that the Emperor was seeking a husband for the Princess, many men found their way to the palace to request his daughter’s hand in marriage.  The Princess pleaded with her father.  “Father, let me remain with you to care for you.  I have no wish to marry and leave you.”  But her father was adamant. 

 Finally he said he would allow her to name one qualification that her chosen husband must meet—be it wealth or looks or special ability or whatever.  The Princess said she would name that qualification on the morrow.
            That evening the Princess went to the garden to talk with the gardener’s son—her childhood playmate.  “If I say my husband must be handsome, he might be handsome but have a cruel heart.  If I say my husband must be kind, he might also be terribly old.  Oh what qualification should I specify?”
            As they discussed the problem, the Princess and the gardener’s son determined that it should take the form of a test—difficult but not so difficult as to be impossible.  “And it must be ambiguous,” said the gardener’s son, “ so that it is up to you to determine if the man qualifies.”  Late that night they finally determined what that qualification must be.
            The next morning the Princess told her father, “I will marry the man who can bring me a blue rose.”
            The neverending stream of suitors ended for none could find a blue rose. 
            A wealthy merchant, not wanting to waste time looking for the blue rose, went to a flower vendor.  “I will give you a bag of gold if you can find me a blue rose,” he said.  After a long, fruitless search, the flower vendor gave up.  He bought a strong dye and dipped the stem into it. The petals of the rose turned a pale blue. “Keep the rose in the vase with the dye,” he told the merchant, “until just before you give it to the Princess.”

            The merchant brought the rose to the Princess.  The Princess reached out and took the rose from his hand.   As she looked at the rose, a drop of blue dye fell from the stem and puddled in her hand. She looked at the bluish-green leaves and then looked into the merchant’s eyes.  He could not meet her gaze.  “I cannot marry you,” she said.  You have tried to deceive me.  I would have a husband who is true.”
            There was a handsome young warrior who would marry the Princess.  He was strong and powerful.  None dared to stand against him.  The young warrior went to the king of a neighboring kingdom. “Bring me the blue rose,” he said, “or I will kill you and half the people in your kingdom.”  The king, who valued peace and did not wish to fight, presented the warrior with a blue sapphire that was carved in the shape of a rose.
            The young warrior presented the sapphire rose to the Princess.  She looked into his cold eyes—eyes that were as hard as the rose of stone.  She said, “I cannot marry you.  I must have a blue rose that is real—not one that is cold and hard.”
            The youngest of the king’s advisors also sought the Princess’ hand.  He conceived a clever plan.  He commissioned an artist to make a blue bowl.  On the side of the bowl was painted a blue rose.  The rim of the bowl was edged in gold.  It was fragile and delicate—a thing of rare beauty.  The young advisor presented it to the Princess on bended knee.  The Princess looked at the bowl and looked into the eyes of the young man.  “Marry me, Princess,” he said, “I will help you rule your kingdom.”

            The Princess shook her head, “I must have a rose that is real.” 
            That evening the Princess sat in the garden talking to the gardener’s son.  “None of them could bring me the blue rose.  I must marry someone who will be honest and true with me—as you have always been. 
He cannot be hard and cruel.  I need someone who is kind and patient—as you have been. 
I do not want a husband who seeks only for power and riches.  I want one who will value me for myself—as you have. . . . .”  
            “Princess,” said the gardener’s son.  “Tomorrow I will bring you the blue rose.  Wait for me in the blue room just before sundown.” 
            The next day when the sun was almost gone, the Princess sat in the blue room.  The gardener’s son approached bearing a plain white rose in his hands. 
            “But it is a common white rose,” said one.
            “He is the gardener’s son,” said another.
            “Surely the Princess will send him away,” said a third.

            The gardener’s son knelt before the Princess.  Through the blue stain glass windows, the rays of the setting sun shone touched the petals of the white rose.  
            As the Princess reached out to take the rose, a murmur arose.  “He is only the gardener’s son.”
“The rose is not truly blue.”
The Princess stood.  “My people, let me tell you what I see.  I see a young man who has always been honest and true.  I see a young man who has had the courage to be patient and kind enough to wait until I knew what was in my heart.  I see a young man who values me for myself.  In his hands he hold a gift of love.  And it is blue.  And if you cannot see that the rose is blue, I say that you are colorblind.
The old Emperor took his daughter’s hand and he took the hand of the gardener’s son and joined them.  And the Princess married the gardener’s son and they lived happily ever after—not because this storyteller said so—not because that’s the way that love stories should end.  But because the Princess and the gardener’s son knew that their happiness was in their own hands and that each was responsible for making sure that the other was happy. 

Retold by Rose Owens
Copyright 2000