I stood in Abby’s drive today and breathed deep the heady fragrance of lilacs.
I closed my eyes, tilted my nostrils toward the breeze, and sniffed to capture the aroma trail.
I nearly hyperventilated for the joy of it.
The bushes grow wild there, all lavender and white.
I watched a woman cut a bouquet from them yesterday, her car parked right next to the “No trespassing/private drive” sign.
I drove on.
Because I understand.
As soon as the snow melts, I obsess over the first signs of lilac leaves, then the buds, then the blooms.
From my office and our bedroom windows, I look down on a wild, overgrown area. A log cabin once stood there. We still find artifacts.
It’s my own lilac overlook.
It was my own lilac overlook.
It wore a billowing white gown in the spring.
Key word. Wore.
Until the Great Lilac Massacre of 2007 when the OCD demon took control of my son.
With a chainsaw.
For a little spring cleanup.
I heard it. I ran outside and stumbled into devastation.
Broken and bleeding limbs lay everywhere.
I smelled death.
And when Jeremy saw my face, I’m pretty sure he thought it was his.
I considered it, but a good long cry seemed a better choice.
My husband thinks the earliest bushes may have graced the cabin.
But they’re gone now.
Except for a handful of survivors that refused to die.
I wish he’d taken out the trees instead.
He knows he broke my heart.
And stole my joy
A fleeting joy.
A replaceable joy.
Because nobody can steal the true joy. The inner joy that remains through broken dreams and butchered expectations. The joy that remains steady through the autumns and winters of life as well as the springs and summers. The joy that does not fluctuate with circumstances.
And if I’m very still and tilt my nose upward, I catch a sweet scent of One once broken and bleeding.
One who refused to die.
“Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.” Psalm 119:111
What brings you joy?
What is your favorite flower?
This post is part of the Blog Carnival on JOY. For more thoughts, visit One Word at a Time.
Jeff Jordan says
I'm having deja vu. We have five lilacs between our house and one of our neighbors. They grew so big and I got tired of trying to mow around them, so I wore out a chainsaw on them 3 years ago. Lisa nearly chainsawed me when she realized what I was doing. They've now grown back to their former glory, but I learned a valuable lesson. One man's thorn is another's flower…get permission before you cut anything down or throw anything out:)
I am so allergic to lilacs that I thought I was going to sneeze Sandra :). It must be that power of suggestion thing. However, I love looking at the flowers from afar though and reading your post.
Sandra Heska King says
@Jeff: Oh, my! I want to laugh. But I'm having deja vu, too.
@JoAnne: So sorry. And so glad you managed to get through the post. 🙂 Thanks for coming by.
I just planted an ever-blooming lilac in the garden (supposedly will bloom from April to September). (We'll see.) The smell reminds both my wife and myself of our grandmothers (and that's a joyous thought for both of us). Good post, Sandra.
Sandra Heska King says
April to September? I gotta get me one of those!
Peonies remind me of one of my grandmothers. I have some of those. They still live. 🙂
Warren Baldwin says
God makes all things beautiful! We have them in our front and back yard (purple ones)
S. Etole says
I love poppies that dance in the breeze … but all flowers speak so much of God and His beauty.
Bridget Chumbley says
Such a lovely fragrance. Thanks for this story, Sandra.
n. davis rosback says
i like the way lilacs just feel comfortable and old fashond.
Sandra, I loved your post. I'm so sorry the lilac bushes are gone. You'll have to plant some more.
As I sit here reading about everyone's favorite flower and the memories they invoke, I am in tears. I had the love of a precious grandmother until I was 13 years old. When she died, my heart broke. It has never quite healed. I still miss her and cry that I cannot spend time with her.
I tell you that to tell you my two favorite flowers: jonquils and daffodils. My grandparents and parents had a farm and my Granny planted these two all over the bank of the stream. We would go and pick dozens of them when in bloom. I cannot look at one without thinking of my sweet Granny.
Sorry this is so long. Thanks so much for the memory walk. Be blessed!
So good to see this and see "you"… been missing you, somehow.
ANYHOW… lilacs are just about my favorite and have been for years. In 2001, I had a huge blessing. Was in Morocco on a prayer walk and the lilacs were pouring forth and lovely. Then came back to Omaha and a few days later the lilacs came to life. A couple weeks later I went to visit Susie [S.Etole] in MN and the lilacs were blooming. I felt like the Lord had piled blessing after blessing on me.
So neat to hear your story and see your usual lovely way of tying the pieces together to honor the Lord.
Sandra Heska King says
@Warren: I love 'em any color. The more the better!
@Susan: Poppies. I don't think I've ever had them. I planted some portulaca (moss rose) this year, something my dad has always planted. Not my favorite, but kind of "homey."
@Bridget and Nancy: Fragrant, old-fashioned, and comfortable. You know it!
@Lynn: Awww. You'll have to keep yourself surrounded with those! Jonquils and daffodils say spring and life. Hugs.
@caryjo: What a beautiful lilac story! And thanks for your sweet words.