The Rose: A Story of Opportunity
“I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.” – Mark Twain
This is World War II. A young American soldier was about to be shipped off to Europe. His mind is so full of thought and emotion, he immediately heads to his local library and checks out a book. The book was full of poetry and he absolutely loved everything about it. However, what really impacted the young man were the handwritten words in between the margins. The comments and added thoughts were so intriguing, he decided he had to get to know the person who wrote them. The book had been donated to the library and a name and address were still written in the inside cover. So, the young man decided to correspond with the person who has written the comments in the book. Soon enough, that person corresponded back with him. He found out that it was a woman, and then they continued to send letters to one another as he was shipped off to the Europe and over the course of the war.
In this time of corresponding the two fell in love. The young man had still never seen the woman before and politely asked if she would send a picture of herself. However, she refused. She claimed that if their love was true, a picture shouldn’t make any difference.
The young man survived and the war was now over. He was coming back home and he was excited to meet her for the first time. They decided to meet at Grand Central Station in New York City. He asked her in one of his last letters, ‘How will we know each other? We’ve never met!” She responded that the young man should bring the book and that’s how she would identify him. She said that she would bring a single rose with her and that’s how he will identify her.
So the day arrives and the young man is feeling extremely anxious. He’s finally going to meet this girl! As he’s waiting in the station, he looks across and here is this girl walking towards him. She is absolutely breath-taking. She is so much more than he ever imagined. She’s wearing a green dress and is making a beeline towards him.
As his heart is thumping wildly, he suddenly notices… she isn’t carrying a rose. The moment he notices this, over her shoulder he sees a lady standing there. And she is holding a rose. She’s not beautiful. She’s not what he pictured. She’s a little frumpy. And his heart sinks. By this time, the girl in the green dress is up to him now. As she walks by him, she says, “Going my way, soldier?”
The young man’s heart is torn for a moment because he had fallen in love with the woman behind the letters. No matter what she looked like. He made a choice. He politely acknowledged the woman in the green dress and then walked up to the lady holding the rose and introduced himself, asking her to dinner.
Her response was this. “Son, I don’t know what’s going on. But that girl in the green dress asked me to hold this rose. She said that if someone should introduce themselves to tell them that she is in the restaurant across the street waiting for him.”
I love the ending of this story. There are always going to be opportunities in our lives that don’t immediately look like ‘the girl in the green dress’ on the outside. But it’s so important to recognize that it’s what’s on the inside that counts.When we come to crossroads in our lives, lots of things grab our attention. But what’s flashy isn’t always the best option. The girl in the green dress is usually found hiding behind the frumpy old woman.The best path is often the path less traveled.
But I trust in your faithfulness. May I rejoice because of your deliverance!Psalm 13:5