JACKSONVILLE DAILY NEWS -- THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 2000
To the editor:
Amid all the controversies, agendas, politics, etc., that usually grace this space in our newspaper, I ask permission to bend your ears on something seldom written about. It will not rally anyone to any causes, start any controversies or even merit a reply letter in this section of the paper --- but it will make some stop and think.
Has anyone noticed how beautiful the blooming wisteria is? It is everywhere!
Wisteria is my favorite flower. To me, the purple buds creating its beauty and fragrance are unsurpassed. Only the short time it blooms is to my displeasure. Some of you may enjoy it like I do while others curse its clinging vines that seem to take over anything in its path.
Wisteria wasn't always my favorite flower, to be quite honest with you, flowers never interested me period until a couple of years ago. My sister, Kristi, started my appreciation for gardening. Wisteria, her favorite, was the crowning touch she wanted on the courtyard wall in her garden.
Today, I sit on a bench upon a brick courtyard my dad made. The wisteria is in full bloom on the towering trees bordering the garden. Adjacent to the courtyard, framed by the wisteria, is the final resting place of my dear sister. Like the beautiful purple buds that bloom too briefly, her beauty was also short lived. A tragic accident took her from us almost two years ago. The nature of the accident is unimportant, the result would be the same -- the method of the loss is irrelevant to the loss. We miss her dearly and would give anything to have her with us still.
As I reflect upon the metaphor mentioned, I cannot help but think of others I knew and loved dearly, whose time among us was short lived -- my niece, Tosha; my best friend, Ron Aman; his brother, L.G.; and another friend, Eric Tafoa.
I realize that I'm not special -- everyone suffers loss. Truly, suffering is the common thread woven through us all.
Can any good come from suffering? This is a question that each of us has to answer on a personal level. Will we become bitter or better?
As for me, I have learned many important lessons through this endeavor. It seems my eyesight is improving -- I've learned to see the unseen, for the things we see are temporal and that which is unseen is everlasting. For example, when I see a small cross and flowers placed along a roadside I can actually see the suffering family and have compassion for them. No longer are statistics merely numbers, they represent lives shaken to their very foundations. I can now look past the wheelchair and see a wonderfully made person sitting there. I appreciate my family and friends more, but most of all, I have learned to feel a special kindred to complete strangers.
Am I perfect? No way. I am merely a poor sinner saved by grace. Do I still hurt? You bet, but so do we all. My sister's death and all the storms I've experienced were not in vain. The lessons I have learned are priceless to me -- after all, they came at a very high price.
If there is one point I can make in this short letter let it be this -- love those around you. Realize that they are only lent to you and can be taken back at any time.
Spend more time with each other, reconcile where need be, communicate more, realize the precious gift of life you have and that same gift is in those around you, loosen yourself from the choking vines of this world and see the beauty -- it's all around you.
Bernie Rosage Jr.