Author – Bill Taylor
Co-Authors – Shila Zinzuwadia & Pragna Ranpuria
Cover Design – Shila Zinzuwadia
In The Beginning
From the beginning of time mankind has gotten it backwards. Every tribe, every tongue, every culture, every society and every nation have missed the point in varying degrees and have sadly paid the cost for doing so. And what is that point? Roses are to be elevated not relegated thus esteemed not demeaned!
In that these men’s antiquated mind sets are so often repeated throughout history, one can only believe they are neither accidental nor coincidental, but rather created by design through faulty thinking.
What the designers have never taken into account is this massive truth; When you relegate the givers of life you relegate “ALL LIFE” including your own. In doing so you choke off the very Rose-Like fragrance that is meant to permeate and enhance your life! The need to control comes at a very high price for men and society in general! The phrase “Self-Inflicted Wounds” comes to mind!
The motivation inspiring this short offering of hopeful help? To remind ladies of their aromatically needed, divinely designed, Rose status and update men regarding the blessed value of being an incredible Thorn.
My desire is that both sides of the equation recognize enough value through its reading, to get us all started in a new and fresh direction of “cultivating fragrant relationships” that are immersed in reciprocal edification!
A wise man once said; I’d rather hear from someone with an experience as opposed to a theory. There is a certain legitimacy that comes with; “Been there done that and have the scars to prove it”.
An ever wiser man once said; If what you are doing doesn’t work, stop wasting your energy trying to justify your “already established” un-justifiable, and wisely make a change to the “better way” for everyone’s sake, including your own!
So from a man’s perspective who took far to long to crawl out of his Pre-Historic Neanderthal Cave of belligerently, arrogantly and pridefully doing it wrong, this is how I see it.
My “highly paid for” premise and well-entrenched belief goes as follows; It’s a fool who keeps a loaded gun in the house so that he can periodically shot himself in the foot with it!
To my fellow, much loved and much appreciated brethren of the male gender, please get rid of the gun!! You will be amazed how wonderful walking “pain-free” can be!
What gun you say? Well, think of it this way; Back in the day of my Cave, it was a Club! What Club you say? Well, think of it this way; A wrong attitude is a Club to the ones we love!
Loaned Not Owned
In life it is truly an immeasurable blessing to have the company of someone special to journey with. That trusted warm place to land our hearts and emotions at the end of each day is a gift of great value no doubt. The question for us men is simply this; Are we correctly evaluating or incorrectly devaluating the “gift”?
The truth is; We men have been entrusted by “the gifts” Owner with the “sacred” privilege of her companionship.
Men, we are Thorns and have been granted by the grace of God the accompaniment of a Rose. Our energies are not to be invested in manipulative attempts to “own” her but rather heart-felt thankfulness for the “loan” of her.
When perusing nature in all its perfect “beauty” and “order” you will notice the Thorn is always below the rose on the stem.
That’s significant in that the Thorn is always looking up to the Rose with admiration while simultaneously and instinctually watching out for anything that might pass by wanting to harm the Thorn’s much valued gift.
Therefore nature teaches us: The Thorn never harms the Rose! The Thorn never owns the Rose! So what does the Thorn “do” of importance?
He provides an atmosphere whereby the Rose, through his devoted encouragement, inspiration and participation, is “free” to flourish and be as beautiful and fragrant as she was meant to be.
And the wise Thorn becomes the benefactor of all her beauty and fragrance! Take a picture of yourself. Now take a picture of you and your Rose. Guaranteed, you look better in the second picture. It’s a good thing to be a Thorn men!
It’s Not A Competition
Who ever heard of a Thorn saying “look at me”? You see Thorns, while not having the most glamourous of jobs, shouldn’t be interpreted as stupid. So the wisdom of a Thorn says, ‘’Look at my Rose” everyone.
The smart Thorn never competes with the Rose for the spotlight. It’s much wiser than that. He never boasts in anything but his Rose. Why? Because he knows the extent of the fragrance and beauty of his Rose is his personal indicator of how well he has cared for her and in the quality of that care, he derives his complete relational joy, contentment and satisfaction.
So, it’s not a competition but rather a co-operation within the context of our obviously created by God designated roles. If that sounds cold and calculated then think of this: Who ever put their nose up close to smell a Thorn?
Therefore Thorns that compete with Roses never win the competition! It’s a fact of life within the context of relationships. We’ve mentioned wise and smart Thorns and their mindsets. Well, here’s what foolish Thorns do. Spend their days and invest their energies in an effort to achieve the impossible. Become a Rose.
Men, take my word for it; Jealousy based on a misconceived and frankly unintelligent, desire for relational supremacy is spiritual, emotional, relational and sometimes financial suicide, usually culminating in one or both of these two common outcomes!
You win the battle and have managed through subtle acts of humiliation, to de-throne thus relegate your beautiful on-loan Rose into the status of a disposable, under your control, weed. If that can remotely be interpreted as winning a battle, I strongly suggest in doing so, you have lost the entire war!
In most scenarios, what you don’t value you don’t get to keep! Which brings us to our second, and no doubt most insane, next step in the foolishness of arrogance.
We get to invest our well-honed intellectual vocabularies in talking to lawyers rather than using the gift of language that God has given us, to apologize to “the gift’ God has given us.
There’s an old adage. One you don’t have to look very far to confirm its profound truth; If I hurt you, I hurt myself in the process. That’s a truth that can’t be navigated around! “What you sow you will reap”! Like it or not, that’s the way God planned it and that’s the way it is! The created doesn’t get to tell the Creator how things pertaining to the responsibilities of relational life work.
The un-avoidable and immeasurable cost of a lack of heart-felt apologetic humility reaches far beyond the Rose And Thorn. There are always the “other lives” that get caught in the cross-fire of careless relational gun-play. Lives, that were supposed to be blessed by a relationship, but now find themselves, through no fault of their own, somewhat cursed with the cost of having to wear its failure in varying degrees.
So today, can we as men take a half step back, peruse the likely damaged landscape of our at times mis-guided or perhaps mis-learned mindsets, and have the courage to allow ourselves to feel the fullness of the chill of the fullness of the cost of prideful arrogance coarse through our veins. Can we embrace that chill and permit it to conclude in our hearts; Whatever the cost is regarding change, I consider myself as intelligent enough to call it infinitesimal comparatively speaking.
Men, by now you must be thinking of me as a traitor to my gender, always assuming that the responsibility for toxic relationships always lies at the feet of men. Gentlemen, while that’s not true this is; For the most part that is the case and we shouldn’t look for the “obscure” scenarios to justify, thereby allow ourselves, to maintain a “business as usual” mindset. Keep in mind; The cost prevails and it won’t be the “obscure” that pays it!
So Is It Possible
In short, yes! Is it probable? That depends on a few very important factors. Let’s go back to the beginning. There are some habitually learned behaviors that won’t be easy to correct.
They won’t just disappear magically. They are well entrenched in our minds and have been called “normal” for a long time, perhaps generationally long. There’s a very good chance we have been repeating thus emulating what we’ve seen and heard throughout our lives from and through others.
The need to recognize and acknowledge “toxic behaviour” is of paramount importance in our quest to cultivate relationships that move from ”mutually tolerated’ to ‘’mutually appreciated”.
To have lives together that envelope reciprocal blessing is our right to desire as humans. The old saying of; “a bad relationship is better than no relationship” is in fact an illusion and to state it bluntly, a lie. A bad relationship is “no relationship”. Having a warm body present does not qualify as relational success.
Seeing as our ‘’significant other” is the most influential and impactful person in our lives, does it not make sense to rise above the “status quo” with all our energies in search of a life-style to be proud of. It’s available “to all” with no limits and is only restricted by our desire to pursue it.
The haunting question for me is this. Why would we want anything less, unless we think “whatever’ and “whoever” is our deserved lot in life? Folks, what we get is what we create, with major emphasis on the WE!
So, the conclusion to the question is this: If we don’t plan on raising the bar concerning our heart’s desires no one else will do it for us. It’s not nor should be their responsibility. It’s ours!
As it is when a couple have a baby, the health of the child with be completely contingent on the care and nurturing it receives from the parents. A relationship is no different thus the onus for its health is solely in the hands of those who are in it.
We can all by choice have what we want. So, what do we want? Better question; Why would anyone choose to eat scraps when a banquet of delights await those who care to pursue them?
A relationship’s value will be determined by the two-way answer to that question! It takes two to created and cultivate fragrant relationships therefore one cannot be the determining factor. When that is the case, the one will become a doormat of convenience for the other to wipe their feet on!
So now that we’ve painted ourselves into a two-way “decision making” corner let me help you with your choice. The alternative is the “same old same old” while being left with the heart breaking job of pretending that nothing is something. That sounds far more difficult to me than humbly taking a step back to re-evaluate what is truly important and adjust to accommodate its importance.
Roses and Thorns have different responsibilities within the context of relationships. Important to note: Different but equally and strategically imperative to success. When we embrace our roles with the expectation of creating something truly magnificent, it’s amazing how fragrantly well things work. Our relationships were never meant to be common nor ordinary but rather spectacular!
History has taught us that the “status quo” is and always has been wrong. The same history has also shown us that “wrong” comes with a cost. Both the men and women in the relationship equation have suffered due to its wrongness. Neither side wins when both sides get hurt! But there is hope! As is so often the case, real “hope” appears when common sense prevails.
There was once a man who felt exercising his authority at the dinner table was a “good” idea. He concluded an emphatic “I’m the boss and don’t you ever forget it” statement with all in attendance would satisfy his need to be adhered to with an appropriate layer of fear sprinkled into his “manly” announcement. Yes that should achieve his desired result, he thought. So out of his mouth came this “manly’ declaration; “Tonight no one eats because I said so”! That man went to bed hungry but manly! He did make his point but at a rather high price!
Perhaps by changing our approach we can create a new “status quo” for our children and perhaps friends to adhere to. One that teaches them the equal value of an Incredible Thorn and a Beautiful Rose. We owe those around us an audio and visual that verifies the magnificent potential that can be realized through both Rose and Thorn as they walk in an understanding of their individual “higher than high” callings. That sounds very much to me like an endeavor worthy of pursuing! It has to be better than going to bed hungry!
Very High Calling?
In closing, let’s get down to some serious clarity. It’s pretty well impossible to implement dreamy, pie in the sky, vagueness. So specifics relating to our Rose – Thorn dynamic is imperative.
Within the context of relationships we all have a very high calling. One that is sacredly important and divinely inspired for our well-being. One that guarantees success! Equally so, success is contingent on it! Therefore it can’t be avoided, in that we didn’t create it. It’s neither an option nor a theory. Better stated; We don’t create a calling, we are given a calling.
We are called to be the keeper not breaker of each other’s hearts! This calling is firmly entrenched at the epicenter of all ensuing results and can’t be frivolously negotiated away.
Loving relationships are to be like a “slow dance” of caring spiritual intimacy not a “Bull in a China Shop” invasion of foolishly pre-conceived, valueless, macho, rights. As previously mentioned; “rights” that come with a very expensive price tag, especially considering their worthlessness!
When a Rose is exposed to the warmth of the Sun it naturally blossoms with an intoxicating fragrance that permeates its entire atmosphere. The incredibly aware Thorn gets to lavish himself in that fragrance and finds great satisfaction in knowing he contributed to it.
So men, be a thankful Thorn to your Rose recognizing the incredible gift she is and in doing so you will be the warmth of the Sun to her. My promise to you; As she blossoms within the confines of your caring warmth, you will end up looking and smelling better than you ever thought possible!
Bill Taylor – Shila Zinzuwadia & Pragna Ranpuria
Relationships are seemingly taken so lightly as if their quality is optional to our well being. The truth is, for better or worse, they are the most impactful dynamic in our lives. Their content will dictate our spiritual, emotional, physical, and at times financial reality. Failed relationships are therefore massively expensive on multiple levels. My hope is that, "The Rose & The Thorn" will enlighten us all to the possibilities that are available for the choosing to those with willing hearts to abandon the "status quo" and embark on a quest for the "spectacular". If we are going to have relationships, why not invest ourselves to make them incredible! Why be satisfied with common and ordinary when profoundly fragrant is being offered. I trust that you the reader will agree with me and transcend the mundane to immerse yourself in the pursuit of the magnificent! Enjoy! Bill Taylor