Smelling the roses

Published September 10, 2013

In taking time “to smell the roses,” we sometimes discover things we might not otherwise experience.

When Lynne and I returned from Joint Assembly and General Synod in July, we discovered that a robin had built a nest in the rose bush near the patio. She had used twigs, mud, bits of string and even clumps of Joe’s hair. (Joe is our wonderful Labrador retriever.)

We couldn’t resist taking a peek. Sure enough, a beautiful turquoise egg lay in the nest!

For three weeks we watched the mother robin nesting. Then came an abundance of activity. Another robin-the father, I assume-took watch on the nearby fence, then swooped into the rosebush, bringing food. Perched on the edge of the nest, he gave the food to the mother robin, who in turn rearranged herself to feed the baby.

Again, we couldn’t resist peeking. To our delight, we saw a tiny little robin, downy and reddish in colour-and two more beautiful turquoise eggs!

Day after day we watched the robins’ activity-mother and father tending their young, their little mouths wide open to receive food that had been gathered for them. Now we hear them chirping! And we know that soon they will leave the nest and fly on their own.

By the time you read this column, dear friends, I will be stopping “to smell the roses.” I will be acting on Jesus’ invitation to “Come away…and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). For six weeks

I will read, dream and draw, ponder and pray. Some of those weeks will be at the seashore. The path from the cottage to the beach is edged with wild roses. You can be sure I will stop to enjoy them.

In this time apart I hope to discover afresh God’s handiwork in my life and in our church’s. I hope to hear things I am otherwise too busy to hear. I will use this time to hear what the Spirit is saying to me and to this church we love, and to listen for the Spirit’s leading in our commitment to God’s mission in the world today.



  • Fred Hiltz

    Archbishop Fred Hiltz was primate of the Anglican Church of Canada from 2007 to 2019.

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