The Legend of the Dogwood Tree

dogwood3As the dogwood  blooms begin to open their petals, I am reminded today of the story my Granny B shared each spring:

There is a legend, that at the time of the Crucifixion the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the cross. To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus, nailed upon it, sensed this.  In His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering, he said to it: “Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross…two long and two short petals. And in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember…”

While digging through some of Granny B’s writings today, I came across a poem she penned in 1934:

  • In Jesus’ time a dogwood grew to a stately size and a lovely hue; 
  • Strong and firm, its branches interwoven and for the cross of Christ, its timber was chosen. 
  • Seeing the distress at this use of wood, Jesus made His promise still holding good: 
  • “Never again shall the dogwood grow large enough to be used just so…
  • Slim and twisted it shall be with blossoms like the cross for all to see;
  • As blood stains the petals marked in brown and the blossom’s center with the thorny crown. 
  • All who see it will remember Me, crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree. 
  • Cherished and protected this tree shall be; a reminder to all of My agony.”

When Granny moved from her beloved Tennessee to Texas in 1955, she brought a beautiful dogwood tree for replanting in her new yard.  It still stands strong in her little yard on Aster Street, a powerful reminder of the legend, and of His grace in our lives…

Are you bearing fruit?

During a recent meal with a dear friend, this profound question was posed to me:  “Beth, what fruits are you bearing these days in retirement?”  WOW…what a way to start a powerful conversation!

My voice (literally and figuratively) has been somewhat silent these past months as I ponder, adjust, and adapt to new pathways for the future.  Pouring through multiple bins of family memorabilia (including unseen pictures, writings, and journals), has consumed much of my time.  Various volunteer opportunities and travel experiences have brought great JOY to my days as well.  Re-consumption of favorite books, movies, music, and more have pushed the nostalgic buttons into therapeutic overdrive to say the least!  But ‘fruits?’  Then it dawned on me as I crunched on my salad…”the ‘fruits’ of the spirit…” Ahhh…

This particular cross-stitch piece was one of the first I did years ago under the watchful eye of my mom.  She started the project about the time I was carrying my youngest daughter; I finished it three years later. 🙂  For years the piece hung in a quiet corner of our home with little emphasis; it now resides in our kitchen as a daily reminder to bear fruit in the best possible ways.  These nine succulent “fruits” allow us to grow, nurture, and serve others from the heart and soul.  In these uncertain political and social times, these “fruits” are the important ones we should carefully garden each day…

So, the big question today:  Are you bearing fruit?