"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;"We all know this quote. It's from Shakespeare's infamous Romeo and Juliet. Remember this quote, because later on it will be critical in making my point.
I know I have been away for a couple of months. To be honest, I haven't felt like writing. My depression has been particularly present in my everyday life and I have hidden away from the world. I've even tried hiding from myself. So now that I am feeling better, I will share with you my heart.
I was in Bury St. Edmunds a few months ago with Jose. We were just taking a stroll and enjoying the beautiful flowers. When I passed by a very young tree that had vines of thorns growing around it. You could tell it wasn't part of the tree and I wondered why would they put thorns around a tree?
I didn't think too much of it for the rest of the day. Then my depression set in. It got so bad that I got sick of myself. I was tired of all the thoughts that ran through my head no matter what I did. I was tired of feeling alone no matter how many people were there around me. I got tired of plastering on my smile at work. I got tired of asking for help (several times) and always being let down as if I didn't matter. I got tired of trying to feel God when I read my Bible. I felt so empty and lifeless. I was simply just done. I asked Jose why did God give me this terrible disease to live with? Why doesn't he send me people to help me? Why can I not find my way out of this darkness? My very wise husband took me in his arms and he said, "mamacita, sometimes God gives us thorns that we must live with for the rest of our lives to always keep us close to him." When he said that, I thought of the tree I saw in Bury.
I came to the realization recently that the thorns that were placed around the tree I saw, were there to protect the tree from small animals eating away at it and its buds until it grew strong enough to sustain itself even when the animals climbed all over it. Just like thorns are not on roses to hurt other people when they hold them, they are there to protect the rose and to remind the holder just how delicate and beautiful the rose is and to handle it with the utmost care.
Now here's where the quote comes in to play. I looked it up on Wikipedia so I could accurately quote it for you, and at the top it gave this explanation:
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is a frequently referenced part of William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet seems to argue that it does not matter that Romeo is from her rival's house of Montague, that is, that he is named "Montague." The reference is often used to imply that the names of things do not affect what they really are.
And suddenly it hit me. My depression does not define who I am as a person. My depression doesn't affect my love for God, or my love for my husband. It is not WHO I am. I am not my thorn, I am the rose, I am the young-ling tree protected by my thorns to grow strong and beautiful. You see, too often we become the very things we despise or struggle with. We let it over take us instead of fighting to keep ourselves in tact. It's so easy to just give in. But who would stop and admire our beauty if all we were to become were thorns? What testimony would we have to tell others of our survival? What wisdom would be have to share with others who are also struggling? We bear no beautiful petals, we grow no limbs to give others shade. We become bitter, we succumb to our thoughts of suicide, we fall deeper into addiction.
I was also talking to my brother the other day. And he told me something that coincides with all of this.He said, "you know Melissa, I think the reason why our family doesn't talk to us and doesn't accept us is because that's actually just God protecting us." I just sat back and thought, wow, that really makes a lot of sense! If our family accepted us and loved us like we wanted them to, we would be caught up in their hatred, their judgmental, bitter hearts. We would never be able to grow because everything that they are would consume us and we would be just another thorn.
If roses had no thorns (as most come like that now) would we handle them with such delicacy? Most likely, no. Without, my depression, and without the pain my family has inflicted on me. I don't think I would yearn for God as much as I do. I wouldn't want to be a better person. I wouldn't want to fight to become who I have become. I wouldn't have as much love to share with others. I wouldn't have as much compassion or empathy. I would be mediocre and not who God created me to be. I am a rose. And just because you (yes I mean YOU) struggle with things like depression, suicidal thoughts, addiction, or anything else, doesn't mean that you aren't a rose. It just means that God is reminding you how precious you are to him. He is keeping you humble, honest, and beautiful for the calling he placed you in this life to fulfill. Don't let your thorns smother your beauty. Don't let your thorns define who you are.