Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

April 9, 2017


Slow down and smell the roses


          In the movie, The Shack, the grieving father is following “God” up a winding trail in the woods. He becomes agitated and demands to know “Where are we going?” Patiently “God” replies, “Don’t worry about that; just enjoy the journey, enjoy the journey.”

          That is good advice. Frantically rushing here and there, we can allow a maddening pace to rob us of the simple pleasures of this journey called life. Two weeks of isolation caused by illness gave me the opportunity to slow down and smell the roses.

          Slow down. Enjoy the journey. Smell the roses. To do so is so important that I decided to make a note on my calendar, twice a month, to “smell the roses.” The wisdom of doing this came to me when a good friend wrote recently, “Your isolation allowed you to stop the daily routine and take time to smell the roses. It is raining here this morning and I am using the time to smell some roses.”

          I pondered what it means to smell the roses. For me it means to focus on simple things that can lower my blood pressure and remind me how blessed I am.

          I sat quietly on our front porch and watched a humming bird flitting about, sipping quickly from the feeder.  Little bird, I thought, you need to slow down and smell some roses. Soon a lovely Blue bird made his way into the bird house on the same tree. Nearby a squirrel seemed to be eyeing the bird feeder but awaiting my departure before going for some seed. In the distance I watched the orange colors of the setting sun disappearing in the darkening sky. I was smelling some roses.

          The daily avalanche of “bargains” floods my cell phone and mailbox. Most I dump in the trash but occasionally one may remind me of roses. A Christian book advertisement read, “What’s better than the smell of fresh flowers, the warm sunshine on your face, grass under your feet?”  I did not order the book. Instead, while rain was gently falling, I decided to walk to the mailbox in my bare feet, feeling the grass under my tender feet and smiling as raindrops clouded my glasses. I was smelling some roses.

          An email message slowed me down. A friend wrote to say that my article about my isolation had touched her heart. She wrote, “I am now on hospice care for cancer but God is good even in this. I have had very little pain. The doctor says I have only a few months to live but God knows the timing and I am at peace. I covet your prayers and I will pray for you.” I said a prayer for her. I was smelling some roses.

           My son who is a pastor called and shared with enthusiasm what a great Sunday he had. No comment about the attendance or the offering but his joy that a woman at the dry cleaners had come to church with her daughter. He had invited her several times and she finally came – and said she would come back! I gave thanks for the honor of having a son who delights in helping people connect with Jesus! I was smelling some roses.

          My wife loves a good bargain. Her face beaming, she showed me a little side table she had bought at the Adullam House for two dollars. And a lovely blouse she had purchased for four dollars. I applauded her frugality while thanking God he had given me a partner who was not a spendthrift.

I was smelling some roses.

          One of my sons called and said, “Dad, let’s go buy some Red Oak lumber and build that table top you have been wanting to build for Mom.” We bought some rough lumber from my friend Randy and began to plane it. The beauty of the wood was stunning. We will finish it soon. I was smelling some roses.

          You might want to take some time today, or soon, to slow down and smell some roses. It will help you enjoy the journey. + + +