We’ve all heard the saying, “God gave us memory so that we may have roses in December.” James Barrie, the author who gave us Peter Pan, was reminding us that warmth comes to us in mysterious ways when life’s cold sweeps down.
With no roses on hand, I offer this delicate violet bloom this morning. I’m thinking especially of friends and family enduring the bitter cold in Iowa, and also my friends suffering through an abnormal winter storm in Texas.
At times like these, little things can make a big difference. Many of you in Texas cannot even view this violet today because your power is down. But perhaps in a couple of days you’ll know I thought of you.
On May 3, 1922 at The University of St. Andrew, the oldest university in Scotland, J.M. Barrie was quoting from a poem by Geoffrey Anketell Studdert-Kennedy (1883-1929)
“God gave His children memory…That in life’s garden there might be…June roses in December.”
The historical context, the end of World War I, entered into this address also. Mr. Barrie was facing young men who had lost brothers and friends in that horrible nightmare. The world still trembled in its aftermath. They had read about–or possibly seen for themselves–the poppies in Flanders Fields.
J. M. Barrie shared his thoughts with great humility. I wish I could speak with some of the students present that day, to ask how his thoughts on courage affected them.
If you’d like to read the speech in its entirety, you may find it here:
At any rate, back in this century, I know my friends are facing this dire weather with the everyday courage so necessary in life. I hope things soon return to normal for all of you.