Saturday was a wonderful day for Rick and I. We woke up to the sun shining and the birds chirping. I could see my birdie girl all around me in the spring day that the Lord had given us. It has been a long hard winter and I was so thankful for the sunshine.
We spent the morning at Church, and then later that afternoon we went to do something really special. A sweet friend of mine, Bethany, had suggested at Maddie's funeral that we should buy her a tree and plant it in her memory. I thought it was a great idea. I told Rick we could make an area in the yard where we planted it, where we could put a bench and the birdhouse the boys made Maddie. I thought it would be a perfect spot to sit and read my Bible and talk to God and my sweet girl.
So, we headed out to find the perfect tree.
And we found it.
I told Rick and my Dad that I wanted it to bloom pink.
My Dad had mentioned that there is a Dogwood tree that blooms pink every year at Easter time for a couple of weeks.
A Pink Dogwood to honor my girl.
We called over to a nursery and we found one. Since it's just turning to spring here in Southern Ohio, I was surprised that they were available.
We walked around the nursery yard and looked at many different Dogwoods.
Some were little, some were big. Some were thin and some were full.
We found the perfect one.
Rick and I both agreed, it was Maddie's tree.
We stood there as the man was telling us how to plant it and take care of this particular tree. He was going into great detail on how to do so.
I remember while he was talking my mind slipped away to Maddie Grace.
We are buying a tree and learning how to take care of it, when all I really wanted was to be taking care of my little girl. It broke my heart.
I didn't want to plant and prune a tree. I wanted to change and feed my daughter. I was sad.
I looked back up to the man, with tears in my eyes and thanked him for the information. I told him that this tree was going to be planted in memory of my daughter, and that is why I wanted to make sure I knew exactly how to care for it. I could tell it touched him.
As we walked away, I was sad. yet I was happy too. I felt like we were honoring Madeline in a wonderful way.
We may have to wait a few weeks to plant the tree until the weather gets a little better, but I will post pictures as soon as we do. And as the rest of Maddie's Memory Garden comes together, I will post more. I can't wait to sit and watch the birdies come and enjoy their new bird house.
I think the boys will be proud that they did something so special to remember their sister.
After we left that day, I kept thinking of something else my Dad had told me about the Pink Dogwood tree. He told me there is a legend that the cross that Jesus was crucified on, was a Dogwood tree. This sparked an interest in me, so I researched it online. I read that this certain tree attracts many birds. =) But I found some other things too.
This is what I found.... There is no Biblical truth to this. These stories are just legends, but they are still interesting.
Two thousand years ago, few trees in the Middle East were big enough to construct anything. However, one tree was valued above the others for its thick trunk and fine, strong wood.
When the Romans came to rule over Jerusalem, their government used this same timber to build the crosses for executing criminals. A group of workers were assigned to gather wood for the crosses. Before long, every Roman official knew the best wood came from these gatherers of execution wood, so those workers became popular.
One day, the wood gatherers received a special request. An officer of the Roman court came and said, "The King of Jews is to be put to death. Deliver an extra-large cross made from your finest wood."
So, a fresh tree was cut from the forest of the trees with thick trunks and fine, strong wood. An extra-tall (and extra-heavy) cross was quickly made and delivered.
Three days after the death of Jesus of Nazareth, the chief wood gatherer got alarming news. "All of our finest trees are withering!" the messenger whispered. The wood gatherer hurried to the forest and saw that it was true.
Several years later, the chief wood gatherer heard that, every spring, many people visited the old forest that had once made his job so easy. Despite his advancing years, he set out to discover why. He saw the remains of forest, now like a salty bottoms, with only a few trees still standing tall, bare, lifeless and rotting.
But what was this? As he drew closer, his feeble eyes could make out the people walking among thousands of beautiful, flowering bushes.
Seeing one of his own workers there, the old man said, "No one could ever make a cross out of this twisted wood. Our finest tree has gone to the dogs!" He noticed the beautiful white flowers, each blossom looking as if it had been burned from the touch of a miniature cross.
As told to Ben Baston by his grandmother, Louise Brown.
There Is A Legend...
At the time of 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 thus 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 Jesus said to the tree:
" 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."
The pink dogwood is said to be blushing for shame because of the cruel purpose which it served in the Crucifixion.
The weeping dogwood further symbolized the sorrow.
The red dogwood, called the Cherokee, bears the color to remind us of the blood shed by our Savior.
Isn't it neat how God lets us see Him in everything? I will not just look at this tree and think of Maddie Grace and the short lifetime I had with her.
But... I will also look at this tree and remember my Savior, who gave His life for mine. Thank you Lord for your life and the price you paid for us. May we never forget what took place on that tree the day you died for our sins.