The Legend of the Dogwood

One of the beautiful things I miss about the South. Photo courtesy of Peggy Farlow

One of the gorgeous things I miss about the South.            Photo courtesy of Peggy Farlow

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. No…not because of the bunny!  Although I’d be lying if I said I don’t enjoy making baskets for The Beans and witnessing their delight when they see the ‘bunny tracks and jelly bean poop’ on Sunday morning. Oh… and let’s not forget the egg hunts! When I was little the Golden Egg was always a Leggs pantyhose egg, spray-painted gold and stuffed with money. Finding that thing was like winning the dang lottery, and the search for it was reminiscent of a scene from The Goonies, boobie traps and all. I am the youngest in my family by 12 years, so my earliest recollection of the annual Romine Family Easter Egg Hunt had me running around with my nieces and nephews, who were toddlers (being assisted by their parents, aka my siblings) and finally ending up in tears because I was too old to hunt with the littles and too little to hunt with the adults. What’s a girl to do?

The festivities were great and all, but my fondest memory of Easter was a story Mama used to tell me. I don’t know the origin of it, or if it’s even true, although I’d really like to go on blind faith and believe it so. And I refuse to Google it. Something tells me it may be a Southern thing, since I’ve actually never seen a dogwood tree growing anywhere except down South. Truth is, I’d all but forgotten it, when I was reminded of it via a post shared by a family friend on Facebook. Of course when I saw the post, I smiled from ear to ear, knowing I would be able to retell it to y’all.

Here it is, as told by my mama, and I suspect many other Southern mamas as well: 

There is a legend that says, 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, bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross– with two long and two short petals. In the middle of the outer edge of each petal, there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red. In the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember.”


Beautiful in its appearance and message.                               Photo credit:

To this very day, I can’t see a dogwood tree or blossom without thinking of Jesus and His sacrifice for my sins.

May we all be reminded of His Grace and Glory this Easter as well as the rest of our days.


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Easter Week


The Easter Haul a few years ago

Is it really time to do baskets, again? That’s all I can think about. Commercialism at its finest, I know.

Although I’m a good person, I suspect I might be a terrible Christian, headed to Hell in my very own handbasket for thinking of this first. Before really reflecting on Easter, and the days leading up to it. At least I’m honest though. And for what it’s worth, while in church this past Sunday, the thought did cross my mind that I should watch The Passion of the Christ again. Hmm.

Maybe what I am trying to say….admit, I suppose…is that I wasn’t really raised understanding the root of the religious holidays. Of course, I know the stories. The ones printed in simplistic language in children’s books, because I have read them to my girls. Ironically, we seemed to only attend church ON HOLIDAYS when I was growing up. Yes, I claim Christianity as my faith and basis for religious belief. But I have never read the Bible cover to cover, can’t quote scripture, and avoid discussions about religion, because…

I feel inadequate and lost talking about something I don’t really know a lot about. 

Dare I say, it makes me very uncomfortable.

“Why?” I ask.  I’m smart. I can learn, can’t I? And what’s more, I really believe there is something bigger than me, keeping watch. How else can I explain the little miracles I experience from time to time? Or the fact that whenever I attend this one specific church, I cry as soon as the music begins. Isn’t that me being “overcome by the spirit”? That being said, I have no explanation as to why, or what my idea about it is. My logical brain, geared for tangible thought, can’t wrap itself around the notion of a being, sitting up in the clouds, behind a set of pearly gates on a throne. Nor can I say I believe in a horned demon under the ground, wielding a pitchfork, keeping watch over the fiery pits of Hell.

To me, Heaven would be an endless Dave Matthews Band concert where I could lose myself in the music while dancing forever, surrounded by all my friends and family, who of course, love DMB as much as I do.  Now THAT’S Heaven!! And Hell? Lately, I would almost certainly tell you I’m going through it. Right here on Earth. But that is another blog. Just go back into the archives and read 🙂


Where does that leave me? My ignorance traps me, and has for years. And I am hesitant to throw myself into the study of it all at the age of 40, for fear of being judged for not knowing already. A few years ago, I did try to take a class on religion. What I wanted was the HISTORY of religions. That was not what the class ended up being, so I dropped it, and was left at Square One. I believe it would make a world of difference in how I deal with things, respond to others, and certainly how I form friendships and nurture relationships. Oh…and parent. I wouldn’t feel like such a loser when my young daughters exhibit vast Biblical knowledge, they gained in Presbyterian school, rather than from me…their mother. There’s THAT.

I WANT to feel the presence of God in everyday life.

I WANT to feel Jesus’ arms around me, lifting me up and carrying me through when I don’t have the strength to walk on my own.

I WANT to know what I am talking about, believing in, and WHY I should. I need some irrefutable proof.

In my face.

What I am seeking…is it even possible? And how do I find it? I can’t be the first person who has asked for it. Where do I start? Point me in the right direction. All suggestions welcome.

Most of all though, I DON’T WANT to be a hypocrite, which is what I feel like when I talk about religion, or advise others to have blind faith. After all, who am I to testify to others in support of something that is clearly not working for me?

Help me, please.

I’m too old to worship the Easter Bunny, and I’m not fond of eggs.



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