The day was rather ordinary until a dozen roses arrived. I remember the awkwardness still, the shock in the secretary's voice. "Valley Flowers delivered a huge bouquet of red roses. I checked the card twice, your name is on it."
Little escaped Carol's control of the high school main office. I knew what she was thinking. Beautiful red roses, but they weren't from my husband. I felt another speed bump in my life just when I thought I was moving on. The bump stopped me, again.
Now, instead of excitement and anticipation, I felt fear. Fear and I had become good friends that year. I retrieved the vase and carried it back to my office, only thinking about the awkward look from Carol. Those embarrassed looks were a bump, too.
You see, I was widowed the previous year. The roses had been from a man who also lost his spouse. We had enjoyed our friendship, but I wasn't ready to say we were dating. Dating was moving on. Didn't that mean leaving behind? That thought alone frightened me.
A good friend and colleague walked into my office that day. "Roses?" He sat down and made himself comfortable. Gregory didn't make me feel awkward or intimidated. I found myself sharing more with Gregory than I had with any of my girlfriends.
After I poured my heart out, Gregory had leaned closer and stroked his white beard. He was quiet for a few minutes, pondering my story before he said a word. Finally, he leaned back in his chair and smiled at me. "God has sent you a gift. Many times we look the other way and don't recognize the gifts we're given. Think about the gift. You'll find your answers."
The kind man shuffled out of my office, leaving me with my roses. However, Gregory's wise words have stayed with me throughout the years. In fact, I've made them a part of my inner strength and armor when I encounter some of life's bumps.
My friend's wise words taught me these invaluable lessons:
1. Find your mantra
Mine was looking at each day and finding a gift from God. On a difficult day you may have to squint to find that present, but once you have it, you're in the driver's seat. You'll easily roll over the day's bump.
2. Overcome your fear
Fear is a feeling of powerlessness. My husband died, and I couldn't bring him back. I was beyond powerless. However, I could accept his death. Once you accept your situation, you can begin to look forward.
Once I realized God would help me, I felt peace. I knew I could rely on him to guide me through those fearful life bumps. All of us will experience the death of a loved one, but we're not alone. Your God is always with you.
Moving on is a gift. No longer am I afraid of forgetting the past, those loving memories always remain in my heart. The day of the roses had been the first of my moving on journey. Now, I face the future without fear. I look for the gifts and continue to find many in my life.