A popular song made famous by Bette Midler is “The Rose.” It was written by Amanda McBroom and recorded for the soundtrack of the 1979 film “The Rose.” It is a song about love that is compared to a flower. “And you its only seed.” In the second stanza are these words:

“It’s the heart afraid of breaking

That never learns to dance.

It’s the dream afraid of waking

That never takes the chance.

It’s the one who won’t be taken.

Who cannot seem to give,

And the soul afraid of dyin’

That never learns to live.”

The song has been compared to a life lesson. We have to overcome our fears and be willing to take risks in order to dance, to be creative, to give, and to learn to live. It is especially important to risk love rather than never to have loved.

Sad to say, I have known people who have never experienced what it means to be loved or to love. Their family life may have been agreeable, but no affection was expressed. It is difficult to tell them about God’s love because they have no experience of human love. Recognizing that, the only way I know for them to learn about love is to love them and to invite them to become a part of a loving community.

From this song I am also aware that there are those who lead lives from an outlook of fear. They are reticent to dance, to try something new, to give, or to learn to live for fear of dying. The unknown of death seems to prevent them from taking any risks to live.

Edward Hays tells the story of a terrorized king who was told by astrologers that he would die on a certain day in the near future. Frightened, he ordered a great stronghold to be built out of a massive rock in which he would be safe from the predicted catastrophe. On the day of the predicted calamity he entered the stronghold. “Once inside he was shocked to find an overlooked small hole through which he could see daylight. With leftover mortar he quickly filled the small hole so the disaster couldn’t slip through.” Relieved, he relaxed, but was quickly seized with panic as he realized that by blocking every possible opening through which disaster could enter, he had imprisoned himself without air or light. The king died that night.”

Sometimes our fear of dying prevents us from living, just as the song says. But the scriptural advice from angels is to “fear not.” Their message appears at least seventeen times in the Gospels and other times in the Old Testament. We are meant to live fully in the love and joy that God has provided. Someday we will die, but it is important to have the courage to live before we say goodbye.

“The Rose” is not a hymn, but it has a lot of practical advice supporting the love God would have us live. So if you are lonely, and if you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong, remember as the song suggests that “in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows, lies the seed that with the sun’s love, in the spring, becomes the rose.” Give yourself a chance to love and to be loved, and do not fear your departing when it comes time to enter into the awe and wonder of a beloved Creator.