To lionize something is to attribute an extreme amount of importance or significance to it. People lionize celebrities, or places like Stonehenge and the Eiffel Tower...
I have lionized roses.
I've always loved them, ever since I was a little kid. Ha, I've just remembered an elementary school Easter where I so wanted my picture (you know, the annual Easter dress/bonnet picture) taken in front of our rosebush. I can see the snapshot in my head - me and my sister and my mom with her arms around us, in front of the bushes. They smelled so wonderful.
Years ago, when I first started leading worship, a friend of mine had given me a necklace and a matching set of earrings shaped like silver roses. I wore them almost every time I led worship for awhile, and I felt such an... I don't know, it was just right to put them on as I headed out the door to church. Kind of like taking my shoes off. It was just something I was supposed to do.
Fast forward to October of this past year - 2007. Second Friday, I believe. Our leadership team for Torch meets each month (in theory) and we were taking turns going about and telling each other what we felt God was calling us to, what our gift mixes were, and how we were wired, and then people got to give us feedback on whether they thought we'd discerned rightly or not. It was pretty cool, actually. I happened to be up that particular night, and I shared all the usual things about worship leading and missions and whatnot, but startled even myself by saying that I felt God was calling me to teach, and discovered it was true as I said it aloud.
My friend Veggie (yes, really) kicked off the feedback portion of the discussion by saying, "Happy, you're a really complex person." And everyone busted up laughing. (I'm still honestly not quite sure how to take that... I mean, I know it's true, but seriously...) :)
And Jake later that evening walked out of the meeting with me, and said, "You know, when Veggie said that, at first I thought, 'yeah, you're kind of like an onion... only that would imply that you're spicy and you make people cry, and that's not true. No... really, I know it's kind of cheesy, but the image that comes to mind is that of a rose. It's absolutely beautiful in its bud form, but as it unfolds petal by petal it just becomes more and more beautiful. And that's who you are."
Wow. That's cool...
Last winter I went to an interesting little church, and everyone in the meeting that particular night had a vision of some sort during the worship time and shared it (it was a small meeting). I didn't say anything, being a visitor, but on the way home, Jake asked me, "so what did you see?"
Part of what I saw was a pool in an ancient city, and I was sitting at the edge of it, and behind it and over my head was this lattice thing, and vines were beginning to grow over it. And then a couple of months ago there was a night (around the time I was having all those flashbacks to old memories) during which I had a strange experience... it was like I was looking at all those memories through a telescope, but over the whole image was superimposed that lattice, and over it were rapidly growing vines that were just covered in roses...
I've prayed off and on for a couple of months now, asking God what that was about, and I think I've finally come to understand. The lattice is His love and His word (the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the framework) - and the vines are my identity in Christ. And every rose is an aspect of my personality, finally beginning to bloom.
You wouldn't believe how many times roses/flowers have come up in the past few weeks. Jake randomly posting on my Facebook wall "every rose has its thorns." (yeeeeaaaahhhhh... sorry about that; I'm working on it, really!) Quotes in Elisabeth Elliot's Passion and Purity. Something my pastor said last Sunday. Jill Briscoe reading something on the radio last weekend from someone else about the way some flowers exude a stronger fragrance when their petals are completely crushed. (Roses can be like that. Their bushes also need to be vigorously pruned in order to help them grow...)
And this amazing Ansel Adams photo of a rose growing through a piece of driftwood...
I had a dream a couple of months ago, which didn't, after all, mean what I thought it did - but in the dream there was this lion walking around and he was wearing a crown. In the crown, instead of the jewel you might expect as the centerpiece, was a single live rose, and it was in full bloom.
I am the rose in the Lion's crown, and I am blooming...
One petal unfolding at a time, I am becoming who I was always meant to be. It's taken a good deal of investment - time, energy, sunlight, fertilizer (a.k.a.: sh*t.... lol!) , love.... but it's working. I am becoming the rose I was meant to be.... and I am worth waiting for.
That's a revelation I have truly come to treasure.