We’ve all heard this so many times. And we think what a good idea that is. To stop and take time for ourselves. To take a break from our busy lives where we’re constantly pulled in different directions. When we scarcely have time to finish one project before we have another that has to be done immediately. When at the end of the day we have more still to do than we had accomplished during the day.
It gets to be exhausting. And we find ourselves keeping so busy that we forget to take time to do the things we enjoy. The things that make us who we are. That give us that welcome distraction we all need in order to recharge our batteries.
But sometimes we don’t even have the energy for that. But it’s important.
Now for me, smelling the roses has a special meaning. My mother loved roses, and I still remember the two rose bushes she had planted beside our grape arbor when I was growing up, and how I looked forward to their blooming every spring. There was a white one that bloomed and bloomed. Profusely. There were fluffy white blooms everywhere. But there was no fragrance, no smell.
The other was a deep red rose, so deeply red it was almost black. It was gorgeous, with huge velvety blooms, and it smelled absolutely wonderful. As soon as it started blooming, I’d make sure to go outside and smell its beautiful fragrance every day. It just made me feel good.
And since I didn’t want the other bush to feel left out, I always put my nose in the middle of one of its blooms as well, and every so often I smelled that faint sweet rose smell. Or thought I did.
Maybe it was just the act of reaching out to smell those roses. Taking the time to just stop and recharge. To do a little thing that made me feel good. To breathe in a fragrance of peace and beauty that for a few moments made me forget the world around me.
Unfortunately those particular rose bushes are now gone. But I still remember them, special memories of my youth now well into the latter days of adulthood.
But my love of roses isn’t gone. I have several rose bushes around our back yard. In the spring they’re so full of blooms that all you see is a sea of pink. But if I don’t stop to take care of them, they start to lose their beauty, to fade and lose their petals, and they don’t bloom as much.
Like ourselves, roses who are untended begin to lose their beauty, their fragrance of life; they don’t continue to thrive. And unless we stop to smell that special fragrance, we too, begin to lose our beauty and our zest for life. We become untended and don’t stop to take time to care for ourselves. Caring for our inner self; the thing that makes us “us” is important.
Being active is fine, no matter what our age. But we still have to take the time to rest, to relax, and appreciate the world around us. To stop and smell those roses before they’re gone.
I’ve been very guilty of that lately, I must admit. And one night last week, I decided it was time to stop and take time for just me. To do what I enjoyed, and not what other people wanted to do. And I did. And it was refreshing.
There weren’t any real roses around to smell, but I took the time to sit and read and listen to some of the music I really enjoy. And yes, I even sang along with some of it. I took time to finish a jigsaw puzzle and even colored a couple of pictures.
I recharged my batteries. And the next morning when I went out to water a few flowers before going to work. I walked over to my rose bushes. Even though they’re somewhat faded now because it’s fall, there were still a few blossoms waiting for me to stop and smell.
And I did.
And I’m going to do it more often.
Not always literally, but I’m going to start taking more time to stop and recharge; to do things I really want to do but never seem to find enough time for. I’m going to make that time instead of trying to accomplish a zillion things each week.
And when I see some roses, or other flowers I really like, I’m going to take the time to enjoy them, and take in their beauty.
And I’m going to keep smelling the roses.