Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hats off to the Gardener

I grew up in the big city of Jacksonville, Florida. That’s about 875 square miles of big. It is the city with largest land area in the US.

Who knew my big city upbringing would lead me to the rural, swampy, South Carolina lowcountry?

I went to college at in the historic town of DeLand, Florida at the small, private Stetson University. Go Hatters. Even after all this time, I still think a hat for a mascot is a little odd. Way back in the 1880’s, Mr. DeLand thought changing the name of the school from DeLand University to Stetson University, honoring the hat maker Mr. Stetson, would enhance the school’s reputation. So, go Hatters. Wear it proudly; your reputation is at stake.

Who knew my sophisticated education would lead me to blogging in the rural, swampy, South Carolina lowcountry?

Phyllis grew up in the South Carolina lowcountry, right here in this little town where I live. She returned here after college - - at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida.

She was a couple of years ahead of me at Stetson. We were there at the same time (which was, oh, so many years ago), but I never knew her then. I’m sure we probably crossed paths in the Commons or in the Sampson Hall art building but we never met, even on the small campus of only 3,000 students.

It was at a dinner party shortly after we moved here that the subject of college came up and Phyllis said something like, “Oh, I went to a small little school in Florida that no one’s ever heard of.” She wouldn’t even say the word “Stetson” because it didn’t really mean anything to anyone around here. After I quizzed her a bit more and we realized the Stetson connection, I squealed with delight. I remember talking really loudly after that about the whole Hatter atmosphere.

Our paths still don’t cross that much here in this little lowcountry town, but there is certainly a connection that links us. It’s more than just a college campus and a hat mascot from several hundred miles away. Phyllis has a heart for God that is unique and special. Her eyes always have a little twinkle, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her when she is not smiling. Even in the difficulties of life, she’s learned how to find hope. She’s one of those people that you can see their faith, even without her saying a word.

She’s also passed that legacy on to her daughter Laney. Laney is a teenager that has that same sparkle. Laney’s had her own share of personal struggles, but I see her growing stronger and more beautiful every day.

For some reason only God knows, my name had been on Phyllis’ mind so she and Laney came to my office yesterday and brought me a gift. It is a Garden Club project that was intended to be shared.

After a brief visit, they left my office and I just sat there rubbing the leaves and inhaling the scents of the rosemary and sage and mint. I thanked God for Phyllis and Laney and this little garden they brought me. I asked God to bless both of them greatly for the little seed of thankfulness they planted in my heart. And I know God will honor that request because He really likes gardens, you know.

And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. Isaiah 58:10-12

1 comment:

Jules from "The Roost" said...

That was so sweet of her! Isn't it amazing how God loves us through other people!