It was Gospel music week in Nashville and, as usual, I couldn’t find a parking place in front of the convention center. I circled around the block, finally pulling into a spot four or five blocks away. With a single quarter to feed the meter, I would have to walk quickly to return before it reverted to red.
With each step, my high-heeled sandals reminded me of the uphill walk to the convention center and the thought that I should have changed into my walking shoes before leaving the car. But the warm, spring weather and the chance to “people watch” soon took my mind off any discomfort.
I have participated in Gospel Music Association week for several decades, and it always amazes me how things have changed since the early years. Christians of all ages, shapes, and colors now converge on Nashville for the annual GMA convention and Dove Awards.* What used to be almost exclusively a Southern gospel music event has evolved to include Christian contemporary, Christian rock, black gospel, praise music, and even holy hip hop. It lifted my spirit and diminished my climb to see the different people God was using to bring seekers into His fold.
Once inside the lobby of the convention center, it took only a few minutes to pick up the Dove Award tickets I had come for. The young girl at the counter smiled and wished me a nice day.
“It’s all downhill now,” I said.
As I rounded the corner of the building on my way back to the car, I saw a beautiful planting of “wild” roses, something I hadn’t noticed on my climb. I stopped to smell them, and the fragrance was heavenly.
Strolling back down the hill, I thought about how often we struggle without taking the time to enjoy the beauty God has put in our path, especially when we are climbing. That beauty is often planted by others. Wild roses certainly don’t grow in the midst of concrete unless someone makes a special effort.
I was heartened that day by someone’s special effort—and the thought that once in awhile we can coast downhill, at least for a while.
I hope you find “wild roses” today. And, if you can, I hope you plant a few.
~ Kathy Harris
Revised July 16, 2011
*In 2011, the Dove Awards were moved to the City of Atlanta. I’ll miss my annual trek up the hill to the convention center.