My Heart's Home

April 16, 2011

Pink Azaleas

Filed under: Easter,Encouragement,Faith — My Heart's Home @ 2:41 pm

Across from the only gas station in town it stands.

Barely.

Worn, weathered and weary. It’s an eyesore to passerby. Old, abandoned, dilapidated. Trellis broken. Pillars stained. Windows cracked. Everything about this tumbledown home is unappealing except…

On one side of the structure—amidst all the weeds, briars, vines, limbs, bushes and debris—is a patch of azaleas. The most beautiful pink blooms you have ever seen. A juxtaposition of beauty amidst squalor.

It’s a reminder to those who view the property with disgust that it wasn’t always a demolitionist’s dream. Once upon a time it was a place of love, beauty and care. Someone painstakingly planted those azaleas on bended knee. They tended them, admired them and cherished them. Gentle hands no longer prune, pluck or primp. The owners have since passed like the seasons. Cobwebs fill halls and rooms ransacked and picked over by strangers like the cotton fields nearby. The only residents are mice. Everything about the place screams ‘forsaken’, yet flowers bloom despite all.

Spring has come and with it breathes new life weeds cannot choke silent.

Hope’s reborn.

I know this place well. I strolled porch steps in Mary Janes and high heels. I swayed in that rusty swing. I roasted pecans culled from backyard limbs. It was my paternal grandparents’ home. It’s where I gulped the sweetest tea, gnawed the saltiest ham and satiated hunger pangs with boiled peanuts. It’s where my grandma quilted, sewed and knitted. Where her fingertips tap danced across piano keys and wrapped around my heart. It’s where my grandpa, who died before I was born, practiced his sermons. It’s where I played Scrabble and tried couscous for the first time. It’s where my biological father lived at 69, surrounded by wall-to-wall books, his only prized possessions. It’s where we once shared a 12-hour phone conversation. It’s where I slept. It’s where I stepped into a porcelain bath.  It’s where I walked creaky floors. It’s where my grandpa and his bookworm son took their last breaths.

It’s where my grandma tended garden.

This home may be forsaken, but never forgotten.

Those beautiful pink azaleas are like my grandmother’s voice whispering hope to me: Never give up. Persevere. Despite life’s ugliness…beauty and love transcend all.

Before we know it life can fall apart at the seams. Heartache can strip away our joy like peeling paint. Sin and sorrow can engulf our heart and mind like twisting weeds and vines, depriving our spirit of nourishment and life. Will we plow through trials, tragedies and turmoil to triumph against the odds? Will we sink in muck and mire or boldly stand our ground, flourish and thrive despite our surroundings? Will we be overtaken or overcome? Will we uproot evil with good?

Easter is a reminder that God’s love is boundless…It even trumped the grave.

Let beautiful azaleas also remind us love and beauty are more powerful than all the depravation of the world. Amidst the sin, darkness and evil lurking to pull us under and do us in…love, hope and joy must always persevere and overcome.

Let Christ restore, transform and resurrect the broken, forsaken and lifeless. Spring has arrived. He is Spring. He redeems the dead.

Let the flowers bloom.

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13


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3 Comments »

  1. Just lovely – thanks so much for this gentle reminder of the power of hope, spring-hope!

    Comment by Diana Trautwein — April 16, 2011 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

  2. Hi there, I found your blog through a comment at {in}courage.

    Your description of the memories in this home make me smile. I drive by my grandparents’ former home often, and every single time (which my kids and husband will confirm!), I say, “I sure would love to buy that house someday…. I wish the owners were moving.” It’s funny how the moments within certain walls are engraved upon our hearts and are part of the very foundation and beams upon which the rest of our lives are built. It touches me to realize I’m not the only one feeling that way! I remember my grandfather coming in with garden soil under his nails, washing up for lunch my grandmother made and the smell of coffee early in the morning while she’d sit in the kitchen with the paper spread over the table.. the cookies in the speckled tin can on a shelf… oh how I could go on… Your post is a blessing. Thanks for sharing your precious memories.

    Comment by Shannon — April 20, 2011 @ 2:02 pm | Reply

  3. Hi there – I tried to leave a comment for you to let you know how much I enjoyed this post (linked to it from your {in}courage comment), but I’m not sure it went through. Just wanted to say it’s a blessing to hear about your memories, and you brought back sweet memories of mine of my grandparents’ home! I think that my previous post may have been logged in under a WordPress blog I had not actually continued work on, so maybe that’s why. I’m hoping this comment finds you, since it’s linked to the blog I actually write 🙂 God bless your day!

    Comment by Shannon Wheeler — April 20, 2011 @ 2:06 pm | Reply


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