A certain man planted a rose and watered it faithfully, and before it blossomed, he examined it. He saw the bud that would soon blossom, and also the thorns. And he thought, "How can any beautiful flower come from a plant burdened with so many sharp thorns?" Saddened by this thought, he neglected to water the rose, and before it was ready to bloom, it died.
So it is with many people. Within every soul there is a rose. The G-d-like qualities planted in us at birth grow amid the thorns of our faults. Many of us look at ourselves and see only the thorns, the defects. We despair, thinking that nothing good can possibly come from us. We neglect to water the good within us, and eventually it dies. We never realize our potential.
And so it is with our children with disabilities. Within every soul there is a rose. The G-d-like qualities planted in them at birth grow amid the thorns of physical and mental deficiencies. Many persons look at them and see only the thorns, the defects. They, the onlookers, despair, thinking that nothing good can possibly come from our buds, our children. They neglect to water the good within these precious souls, and eventually their potential is never realized.
Some people do not see the rose within themselves; someone else must show it to them. One of the greatest gifts a person can possess is to be able to reach past the thorns and find the rose within others. This is the characteristic of love, to look at a person, and knowing his faults and defects, recognize the nobility in his soul, and help him realize that he can overcome his deficiencies. If we show him the rose, he will conquer the thorns. Then he will blossom, blooming forth thirty, sixty, a hundred-fold as it is given to him.
Our duty in this world is to help others by showing them their roses and not their thorns. Only then can we achieve the love we should feel for each other; only then can we bloom in our own garden.
Adapted and revised with permission from the
Shema Yisrael Torah Network weekly on-line newsletter
This article first appeared in issue #10 of Down Syndrome Amongst Us