"When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as 'rootless' or 'stemless.' We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don't condemn it as immature or underdeveloped, nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each stage, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is. "

This analogy made perfect sense to me when I read it. I would never think less of a rose whose buds were not open, or one that was just shooting out of the ground. I understand that it is in a process of change; and in time it will mature and grow. I am patient and tolerant of its stages of development, and clearly see the need for water and nourishment.

The challenge has been applying this principle to my daily life.

In theory, it is easy understand that each of us is evolving and in the middle of a process; we all are just like that seed. We may be small, "rootless" or "stemless" at times or in certain areas of our lives. Our faith might be immature in some areas; our gifts and talents underdeveloped in others.

However sometimes we lack that same understanding of others who have yet to bud or are just shooting out of the ground, even though we know in theory that they are not finished, they are part of a process.

It is easy to understand that a child will usually learn to crawl, then walk and then run.

We even understand a new convert to the LDS Church, who is learning line upon line, as they slowly start grasping an understanding of the gospel.

Yet when it comes to friends, co-workers, family or ward members, we can be so intolerant of the process of change. We often expect their roses to be opened in all aspects of their lives.

For example, our Relief Society president may have bloomed when it comes to compassion and being a great listener. However, her organizational skills may not have taken root yet. Or maybe our bishop has blossomed in the area of obedience, but is just shooting out of the ground when it comes to sensitivity. Others in our lives may be blooming in areas of service, duty or obedience, and have yet to take root on forgiveness, tolerance or compassion.

There are times when we bloom in one area, and as all roses die, the process has to start over again.

For example, we may be growing and blooming in the area of obedience. We are reading our scriptures, keeping the Sabbath day holy, going to the temple, etc., and then devastation or distraction comes in our lives and we stop being so diligent. In essence, our rose dies. We need to plant a new seed and rededicate ourselves again.

Or we have experiences that teach us patience and are certain we have bloomed forever in that area. But sure enough, the process repeats itself later in life, when we face more trials that test our patience once again.

Doesn't it seem that we are more tolerant of people who are "rootless" or "stemless" in the same areas that we are? For example, if we miss our meetings or neglect our visiting teaching, then we understand others that do the same. However, if we are always on time, responsible and accountable, we can be frustrated when someone else is late, negligent or passes the buck.

Or if we believe strongly in staying out of debt or being self-sufficient and have planted that seed many years ago, have nourished it, and it is blooming, than we often have little tolerance for those who are living beyond their means, dependent upon others or basically immature or underdeveloped in that area.

Yet, the truth is that there are areas of our lives that we have yet to nourish, and we hope that others will be tolerant and understanding while we develop in those areas.

This analogy that was given to me many years ago has turned in to a lifelong quest of remembering that we all are evolving, learning, growing and having to learn and relearn time and time again. It has been a constant reminder to me that we all are part of a process, and at any given moment, each of us contains our full potential and are perfectly all right as we are.