‘The Rose’ is my favourite love song. It was written by Amanda McBroom and Bette Midler eternalised it. Consider the wisdom of its lyrics.
In particular: “I say, Love, it is a flower, and you its only seed…”
“Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed, that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose.”
One thing particularly intrigues me in the lyrics. Why does the songwriter say, “and you, its only seed” in the line “love is a flower and you its only seed”?
It took me years to figure out what this means to me. I would love to know what Amanda McBroom’s take would be on it.
To me ‘The Rose’ is a metaphor for love. Remember that John in the New Testament says, “God is love”. Now why am ‘I’ the only seed of such loving God? The remarkable theologian-psychologist Henry Nouwen in his book-sermon Life Of The Beloved seems to make this crystal clear to me. He refers to the Bible to claim that every single one of us is God’s favourite-beloved, as if I, every I, was the only favoured, beloved child of God.
The ‘only’ comes from the analogy of the Biblical phrase of Christ as the “one and only Son of God” to every one of us as a child of God and the only one at that. As if every one of us was also the only most beloved and favoured child of God. Only a God of unconditional and infinite love could do this personally to everyone. That is how I become metaphorically the ‘only’ seed.
But that seed lies “far beneath the bitter snows”, as Amanda says. Here the Sun, to me, again stands for the source of love, God, incarnate in the seed of love, the ‘every me’. Such ‘every me’ needs God’s love to become who she/he is: the Rose-love.
Only by resisting all the lies, the bitter snows of winter, which tell me that I am not the beloved, that I can realise my true identity as the beloved. Yet it is the bitter snows of winter, my suffering in living by those lies, that breaks my ego’s hard shell of the true seed within me liberating the tender love, the potential rose within. As I become ‘The Rose’, love, in spring, by God’s grace of unconditional, divine love, I realise, or at least get a glimpse of my true identity as the unconditional lover. Only as such, can I love God with all my being and my neighbour as myself.
This is the great mystery: God can love me as God’s most favoured beloved child and simultaneously love so every one of us as if he/she was the only most favoured beloved one. That is because there is an abundance of unconditional, divine love on the spiritual plane making every single one of us as the most uniquely favoured beloved one without the slightest need for jealousy among us.
Inexhaustible spiritual love is offered to everyone and God still has love to give away after loving every one of us as uniquely special. Such love can only compel me, if I can recognise and claim it as my identity, to love God gratefully with my all and my neighbour as myself.
Why love also my neighbour as myself? Because by realising that I am ‘the chosen most beloved of God’ I also realise that I am one with everyone chosen by God as a uniquely special one and only offspring. Here is another spiritual mystery… As if my unique self metamorphosed into the one universal self who is everyone. I am in everyone and everyone is in me as God’s only unique yet universal child as the individualised yet also collectively one humanity!
The “only seed” is the one and only uniquely universal unconditional love!
Dear Amanda, was there a ‘divine inspiration’ revealing something like this to you in the notion of the “only seed” or is this just my interpretation? I would love to know your answer.