If you had to choose, would you rather be a garden rose or a desert rose?
Have you ever seen a desert rose?
I didn’t know they even existed until we went to Tunisia. A desert rose isn’t like the Rose of Sharon, such as we have growing in August gardens here. In fact, the desert rose I’m talking about isn’t a flower at all! It’s a rosette-shaped formation made from gypsum or baryte that has crystallized in arid, sandy conditions, often in salt basins. Because they’re a product of deserts, they are often embedded with sand, and if the sand is infused with iron particles (or algae, as in this picture), some roses take on a pinkish tinge. We do have “rose rocks” in the southwestern U.S., but true desert roses only exist in Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Algeria. Most commonly, desert roses are about the size of a small rose, although on our trip to Tunisia, we noticed some absolutely huge desert roses! These uniquely designed creations are used to adorn museums and courtyards, and the biggest one I saw was of monumental proportions,
displayed in the middle of a highway intersection! So, now that you know what I’m talking about, which would you choose? For fragrance, texture, and sheer visual appeal, I’d rather be a garden rose, but they are so fragile and never last more than a week or two. There’s something to admire in the permanence of being a rock, too, isn’t there? Inasmuch as we are called to be like our creator, perhaps we can be both. In our flesh, may we be vibrant, fragrant, and lovely despite our frailty, but in our spirits, may we be even more enduring in our faith
than ancient bones and desert roses! “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower thereof falls away: But the word of the Lord endures for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
(1 Peter 1:24-25)“And [they] did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4)
(This last picture was taken by Laura Pena in Tunisia and used by permission from Wiki Commons, but I took all the rest on my recent trip to Tunisia…except for the flowers, which are from my garden.)