Spring of Hope

Submitted by Kyleigh on Thu, 04/28/2011 - 15:56

{Spring Theme! ... and I have no idea what I'll be posting after this. I really need to finish all the ideas I have...}

The heavy wooden door creaked open. A wheelbarrow filled with pots sat in one corner of the old shed, filled with pots and trowels. Hooks on the wall held more tools – shears, shovels, hoes… Golden light from a window on the far wall streamed into the room, revealing dust particles floating in the air. Bundles of dried herbs, primarily lavender, hung from the rafters high above the intruder’s head. The room smelled old and musty, but it was mixed with the smell of the lavender.

            Just like grandmary, thought the young woman. Tears filled her eyes, and she glanced out the half-open door. She hadn’t been into the shed since grandmary fell sick six months ago. Life was too busy when she was ill, and then after her death Victoria didn’t want to be reminded of her grandmother. But now Tori was in charge of planting the flower garden at her family’s farm. The farm had belonged to her grandmother after her grandfather had died… and now, since grandmary’s death in November – was it already that long ago? The pain was so fresh in Tori’s heart – the farm belonged to Tori’s father. Yet here she was, early one morning in March, to sort through seeds and garden plans and decide how to do it that year. Oh, she’d done it for the past three years… but never by herself. Grandmary’s gentle words were always there to correct her mistakes.

            Victoria surveyed a wall full of shelves. Each shelf held a number of jars, all labeled in Grandmary’s familiar handwriting. On the top shelf were bulbs – but most of those were already planted. The second row held herb seeds and a few jars of grain – both more for looks than necessity, the fields held most of the food. The lower two shelves were filled with all shapes and sizes of jars, all containing the seeds to grandmary’s favorite flowers. Grandmary had always loved flowers, and her flower arrangements and herb garden had aided the farm in times of trouble and were a source of pleasure for her in fruitful years.

            But there was a jar on the shelf Tori had never seen before. It was the same size and shape as many others, but instead of holding seeds, there were scrolls of paper inside. She picked it up and brushed the dust off. There was no label on it, just a green ribbon – a favorite color of both Tori and Grandmary. She sat down at a small desk and pried the lid off of the jar. She had never found anything but seeds on the shelf before. Garden plans were kept in the desk. It wasn’t like grandmary to put things where they didn’t belong. Tori pulled out a scroll of paper. It was a picture three-year-old Victoria had drawn of her and grandmary in the garden. A real photograph of the same thing was paper-clipped onto the drawing.

            Was that what the mysterious jar held? Memories and keepsakes? Tori dug further. There was the first garden plan she had made. Grandmary’s corrections lay neatly next to Victoria’s awkward drawings and notes. A few stalks of lavender fell out of the next roll of paper. It was a note from grandmary, reminding “Sweet Tori” what flowers needed the most sun or water, and which ones always sold best and looked best in arrangements. The date at the top was the day after they had found out grandmary was sick.

            She must have left this for me. She knew she was dying, and knew she had to help me still. Tori felt like bursting into tears. She would have, always thinking of others first. It was that character and sweetness that Victoria missed the most, but also what caused her to treasure her grandmother more. She turned the jar over on the desk. A packet of seeds fell out. “Chrysanthemum,” read the label. Attached to it was a note from grandmary.

            “Dear Victoria”, it read. “I don’t want to talk about my death, though I know it’s coming. Don’t let it grieve you for too long. I love your cheerfulness; never lose it. Remember that death isn’t a pit, but a tunnel for Christians. It leads us homeward, to Christ, to eternal life. Chrysanthemums represent life. When you plant these, remember that I have life in abundance, which Christ came to give. Remember that we have life only through death. My dear granddaughter, I love you and am very sad to leave you – but I am going to where I belong, to do what I was made to do. Let these flowers, and all the others you plant, remind you of the hope we have in Christ. ‘The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of the Lord stands forever.’ Place your hope in that which stands forever, Tori. Hope in Him, our salvation and life. Remember what else happened in Spring – the Passover during which He was crucified to appease the wrath of God for our sins, the very thing that allows me to be rejoicing in heaven as you read this. I love you, Tori. But don’t give up the life you have on earth. Glorify Him in it, even as you long to be above. May these flowers and the work you do glorify Him, and may He bless your hands.

            Much love,



            Victoria re-rolled the note, then replaced the items in the jar. With a glance back at the shelves, she stepped outside into the sunshine. A few minutes later, she stood at the edge of the sleeping garden. A few crocuses and daffodils poked their sprouts out of the dirt, in the same place as grandmary always planted them. Tori surveyed the plot of land, and ideas began to form in her head. Pain was still in her heart. But with death was also life. Spring is for new life, she reminded herself. She clasped the jar tightly in her hands. Which grandmary is truly experiencing, and towards which the rest of us strive. She dug in the soil with her bare toes and dropped in a few chrysanthemum seeds. And of which this garden will always remind me of. The dullness of winter over, the pain and cold… and instead, life and joy. Spring is hope, hope in Christ.

Author's age when written


Kyleigh, you actually have me in tears right now. My own grandma 'Moofy' was very much like Grandmary in this story. She was always planting seeds and building flower beds, and her gardens were always a showplace. She was always teaching me how to do it like she did, but somehow I just didn't end up with her green thumb.

She passed away four months ago. Now that it's spring I'm watching the flowers she planted and loved come up without her being there to see them. It's hard. But thank you for this story. Thank you for this reminder to focus on the good--the years I got to spend in those gardens with Moofy, the memories I have, and the fact that she is in Heaven with the Savior she spent her life serving.


Brother: Your character should drive a motorcycle.
Me: He can't. He's in the wilderness.
Brother: Then make it a four-wheel-drive motorcycle!

This is so sweet and sad and, at the same time, wonderful.

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief