About that yellow one—the blooms may be huge, but they are few and far between. I doubt we get more than a dozen a year. And they are here and gone in a flash. You will see a bud one day, a beautiful rose the second, an overblown flower the third, and an empty limb the fourth. Then you might wait two weeks for the next one. Rarely will we have two yellow blooms at the same time.
However, the first winter, Keith did not prune it exactly right, and one morning the following spring we found both a yellow and a red bloom on the same bush. Because of his "poor" pruning job, the rootstock had put out limbs and they had bloomed too. Those were almost the same red as the Climbing Blaze, but just a bit smaller. So now we have four colors on three plants, ranging in size from a half dollar to a teacup. Needless to say, we have not corrected our "mistake."
This past April those rootstock limbs really took off. Each five or six foot arc was covered with buds all down its length, opening at intervals so that we had a huge length of red blooms for weeks. And these little guys last awhile—no here today, gone tomorrow for them.
From a few feet away all you see is red, but when you step closer you begin to see the individual blooms. Some are still buds, dark green with a tiny line of red where it will eventually open. Some have just begun to do so, the green sepal having fallen back, but the red still folded into itself. Some are the perfect rose, just barely open into a full bloom with intricate folds of red velvet. Then you see the older blooms, open as wide as possible, yellow pollen showing in the middle, surrounded by a paler, almost white ring.
Even at the same stage the blooms show differences. Some are larger, some smaller. Some have more petals, others fewer. Some have petals with black "lace" around the edges—perhaps a blight of some kind. Some are slightly malformed, opening only on one side while the other never opens at all. But every one of them does what a rose is supposed to do, what God made it for—blooming to the best of its ability.
That's all God expects of us, too. In whatever condition you are, serve Him the best you can. Even that may change due to health or age, but that doesn't give you a pass. Some of the people who have helped me the most were the older brothers and sisters I visited, hoping to encourage them, and yet found myself encouraged as much or more by them. People who deal with pain every day, who have trials and ordeals most of us have only read about and come through it with their faith intact and an optimistic view of their destiny, which they pass on to others through sheer enthusiasm. They are the greatest proof that there is absolutely no excuse for sitting idle in God's kingdom.
"But I am doing my best," so many will say to assuage their guilty feelings. Fine. Just understand this: God is the one who decides what your best is, not you. Just as his lord judged harshly the one talent man who buried his in the ground because the risks otherwise scared him, our Lord will judge harshly the one who gave up just because things got tough.
The Lord's kingdom is a climbing rose covered with bloom after bloom. None of them is perfect and some look far better than others in men's eyes, but in God's eyes, the bud that blooms its head off regardless its condition, is the most beautiful one of all.
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, (Ps 103:15-17).