(mom’s magnolia tree is in full summer to be regalia / Julie Cook / 2018)
Few things are more indicative of life in the South than the large white billowy blooms
of the Magnolia.
Well, maybe a few other things such as mosquitoes, heat, and humidity might also come to mind…
but if the truth be told, the Magnolia is by far, the best of the bunch.
The large majestic blooms are hailed as the state flower for both Louisiana and Mississippi.
These are not dainty, delicate nor demure flowers by any means…
words which are often associated and used to describe life here down South…
Rather these beauties are large, tenacious, enduring and oh so sweetly fragrant.
Words I prefer to use when I think of those native Southerners.
Words such as tenacious…think fire ant.
I’ve spent the better part of the week up in Atlanta babysitting and I am happy to report
that Mother’s magnolia tree is in full bloom.
While the grass was still damp with the morning dew and the air thick and heavy with the
lingering damp humidity from the day’s prior thundershowers,
I walked out into the backyard while holding my tiny yet curious granddaughter.
I know that this little girl will never meet nor ever know either of my parents…
yet their presence permeates her small world like the lingering smoke circling the
air from a smoldering brick hearth.
I was greeted this misty morning with a deep sense of satisfaction and great comfort
being able to point out to this wee one of mine those long lasting and enduring
breadcrumbs that had been originally and randomly scattered long ago by my own mom…
Breadcrumbs that were, at the time unbeknownst to Mother, being left as trail markers…
And after all these many years, these inconspicuous directional markers remain to this day,
firmly in place.
Be it the tiny tea rose bush Mother never knew would live let alone thrive now decades later…
to a stand of currently runaway and run amuck monkey grass…
to this now stately and massive magnolia tree…
A tree I vividly remember planting with my mom and my grandmother when I was
just a little girl.
A tree whose blooms will, for this new generation, act as a polestar as to how to
recall finding one’s way back to “home.”
And whereas we all have that place we hold in our mind’s eye as to what constitutes the notion
of home, be it a fond treasured memory or rather a memory preferred to be long forgotten,
we each have that place.
Yet what many of us never truly realize is that that place of which we all oddly
so long for despite often already thinking we are there, is not to be found here
among the trees or buildings, fields or roads…
Home, that most sacred place we often seem to ache for despite often being physically
in the place, we think we call home, is not to be found here on this earth…
And so as we are left to navigate our way to this place where we will know
without doubt that we are indeed truly Home, we remain continually seeking those
often overlooked breadcrumbs left to us by the One who has come, gone and will come again…
breadcrumbs of hope and salvation, of which will rightfully lead us to that place
where we finally can claim that we are Home.
(the four stages of a magnolia bloom / Julie Cook / 2018)
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed,
we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
Meanwhile, we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,
because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.
For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened,
because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our
heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God,
who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home
in the body we are away from the Lord.For we live by faith, not by sight.
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home
with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him,
whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body,
whether good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:1-10