The last roses of summer are sitting on my desk right now, and they smell wonderful. Every now and then I catch a whiff of them and every time it makes me stop to think how beautiful they are and how lucky I am. Their distinct perfume isn’t something you get with store-bought roses. Of course, these roses aren’t as perfect as store-bought roses; the garden pests have gnawed on them a little, and no one has carefully removed the thorns from their stems and wrapped them with baby’s-breath in green tissue paper. But they are more wonderful than store-bought roses because Jessica and I picked the bush out together and planted it in the garden this spring, and neither of us had the first clue what we were doing. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a gardener.
So the roses are a triumph of hope over experience, and I’m sure I don’t have to beat you over the head to make the analogy: the store-bought roses may be perfect and commercial, but it’s the ones I grew in my front garden that mean the most to me.