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Jennie Noonkester is a mother of two sons who recently received her Master’s of Education degree from William Carey University. She lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and she is the Student Service Coordinator for a local high school.


Trigger Warning

An eternal tear fell.  Caribe wept.  His aimless attempts to create a pleasing offering to the Eternal One had fallen short.  For every year, the Eternal One required Caribe and his brother to create a flower as a pleasing offering at the Festival of Destination, and Tradjon always managed to calculate a perfect design.  The Eternal One always accepted both offerings because his sons were devoted.  However, Tradjon always managed to design his with precision and purpose.  Caribe cried tears of deep lamentation while he strolled through the Magnificent Garden of the Sun; there he beheld a menagerie of annual offerings.  It was grand to linger in the ancient collection.  The flowers were all lovely and arranged in a harmonized grid.  However, Caribe’s father annually chose the floret that was most pleasing to him; hence, this flower would remain on its stem for many leagues while the flower not chosen would bloom only for a day.  Caribe’s eyes filled with tears because he wished to please the Eternal One.  His tears were not filled with bitterness or hatred but with regret.  Caribe knew his brother possessed the same feelings. His sibling’s face beamed with radiance that shone on those highly favored by the Eternal One. The Eternal One must have been trying to teach Mighty Caribe some new wisdom.  It was not like Him to demonstrate favoritism among his children.

Caribe wondered, “what were his creations lacking?”

The festival was only a few days away, and Caribe still mulled over the flower’s design.  The blossom must bear a symbol that makes humans turn their soul to the Eternal One.  As Caribe pondered these things, a tear fell slowly from his cheek to the ground.  The tear disappeared into the celestial soil.  After a moment, a green seedling appeared at the mark.  Then a full plant soon followed appearing luscious and green with perfect buds as big as eggs resting at the edge of the stems.  Caribe smiled simultaneously.  Look what his sorrow had brought forth.  Something new beyond his imagination and skill.  His tear of disappointment turned into something of the worthiest expression known to man or the gods.  Almost in melodious sync the buds “popped” open and a burst of scarlet flamed out into the atmosphere.  It was astonishing.  An object with such beauty must contain a fragrant scent to draw all men to it like a soul would be drawn to a god.  It must smell sweeter than a pomegranate.  This would not be an easy task.  So, Caribe concocted a potion by amalgamating odors from the sweetest grasses and fruits. After the liquid was composed, he sprayed it all over the foliage.  As Caribe looked up into the sky, the Eternal One was sitting above in the heat of the day.  Caribe noticed that the flower’s red hue was that of the Eternal One’s persona mounted on the Highest of Heights.

Caribe said, “I shall call you a rose because you rose up like my Father in scarlet beauty up into the Highest of Heights.”

“Now,” Caribe professed, “your aroma shall rise in pleasure to god and lovers everywhere.  Your petals shall be soft to the touch lest they bruise and wilt.  They shall be carefully handled as one should carefully endeavor to be virtuous and pleasing to the Eternal One, the sustainer of all life.”

So, Caribe made the rose an herb, so that it would nourish the flesh as well as the soul.  Caribe felt the blossom needed to be heard by God and man like the stars of heaven sing.  The flower should glorify and pay homage to the Eternal One, and the possessors of the glorious flower should cry out in sacrificial worship.  Caribe decided to make the florets to be both a pleasing offering as well as a grand sacrifice.  While meditating on this point, a honeybee began to come near the rose.  For it could not resist the intoxicating fragrance like one cannot resist the will of the Eternal One.  Caribe contemplated what to design, and a second bee landed on his hand and stung him.  Looking down at his hand, blood appeared at the point of puncture.

“A blood sacrifice. Yes.” Caribe whispered in an air of illumination while dancing around the garden.

“My beautiful flower-The Rose- shall be a sacrifice as well as a fragrant offering to the Eternal One,” Caribe proclaimed.

Caribe began to forge a sword out of clay, then he secured it to the long, verdant stem of the rose.  Now the Great Law of the Highest states that: “if any being wishes to know the true pleasure of God, then a sacrifice must occur before the offering.  The sacrifice makes the pleasure of the offering purer to the receiver.  Thus, the blood split by the bearer of the rose, is a sacrifice to The Eternal One.”

On the day of the Great Festival of Destination, Tradjon who had been meandering in the mead just beyond the tree most of the morning, arrived ready to present his beloved offering “The Peony.”  He had adorned it as if it were a diamond, a joyous color as any that he had ever observed.  Caribe was now beside his brother waiting for the Eternal One to stand firm on the lapis lazuli edifice.  It was surrounded by seven standing stones carved from the strongest of marble.  On each stone, all the exquisite flowers that Caribe and Tradjon had made were carved to perfection into the stones.  The trumpets, cymbals, lyres, and harps sounded as the Eternal One drew near to the assembly.  The Highest of Heights fell silent as Tradjon and Caribe emerged from The Magnificent Garden of the Sun to present their offering to their father.  Caribe waited for Trajdon to bestow his offering.  The petals of Tradjon’s blossom were as delicate as glass, and its color reflected all the hues simultaneously.  It was colorless and full of brilliance.  Its beauty danced as the bearer beheld it, and it smelled delicious.  It was a wonder to witness.  Caribe looked down in dismay.  But, he loved his offering, so in faith he moved forward to present his gift.  Before he brought forth the blossom, the Eternal One smiled because the flowers fragrance could be sensed from behind Caribe’s back.  The scarlet hue of the flower was as lustrous as The Eternal One was at noon day.  The Eternal One’s face shone in brilliance as Caribe displayed the flower.  The Eternal One touched the soft petal with his graceful fingers.

Caribe exclaimed, “Father, eat it.  For it is also nourishing to your being.”

This made the Eternal One smile.  As Caribe gave his father the rose, the forged thorn on the stem sank into Caribe’s steady finger.

Blood fell softly on the edifice as he exclaimed, “My blood sacrifice so that the offering will remain divine.”

The Eternal One’s face shone like opulent crystal.  All the followers’ faces were touched by the Eternal One’s light.

The Eternal One proclaimed, “Caribe’s flower is the most glorious offering, and the rose shall be a symbol of love and devotion for eternity.  For all pleasure must be gained through pain.  Your offering is complete, Caribe.  Your bloom shall have a growing season of many leagues, and the blooms shall be eulogized and reverenced about throughout the ages of man.”

The Eternal One continued his proclamation, “Tradjon your dazzling bloom reflects external beauty only which quickly fades.  Therefore, your bloom, the Peony, shall remain in its dazzling beauty for a moment.”

Then, the Eternal One removed some of the stems from the roses and formed a laurel wreath.  The thorns, before they touched the Eternal One’s hand, burst forth into radiant blossoms.  The flowers were a rainbow of many colors, and their seeds fell among those attending the festival.  The laurel was then placed on Caribe’s brow.

“The sacrifice is not for you to bear.  One will come that his sacrifice will accomplish the greatest offering,” whispered the Eternal One to Caribe.

The Eternal One descended the edifice and returned to his dwelling by the opaque ocean.  Caribe, Tradjon, and the followers walked through the garden beholding its beauty in the cool of the evening.

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