Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Story For Sunday

Once several years ago my oldest daughter told me that she had seen this amazing flower on a vine called Passion Flower. She loved the symbolism of the flower and wanted to find one to grow on an arbor she wanted her dad to build her.  We did build her that arbor but sadly her cancer returned around the same time and she was never able to enjoy it before her passing. 

What I remember today is the love that went into the building of that arbor. She had an old building in her back yard and decided that this is where she wanted her arbor.  A month or so after she gave birth to Lucy the farmer and I went to her house to begin tearing it down. It was a very hot day and she put on her garden gloves and worked right along with us all day. All that remained at the end of the day was a large rectangular slab of cement with rebar sticking up every two or three feet. Her vision was to build an arbor over that with passion vines growing up both ends as well as grape vines. She wanted to put a table and chairs under this and little white lights entwined around. A very romantic setting is what she had in mind.

When it came time to build that arbor she was already going through treatment and it was her birthday. It took three visits to build her arbor.  The farmer and my second daughters husband, Wade, went in and set the posts and built the upper frame. The next visit the farmer worked on the arbor while Wade mowed her lawn and sawed off the rebar that was protruding. The very last visit for building this arbor was a rainy day and the farmer and I went in and finished up the slats that crossed over the top.  My next project was to take her shopping to find her passion vines and large planters but that never happened because her cancer became terminal. I only hope she knows how much love went into trying to make her dream a reality even though time did not permit her to see it happen. 

I love hearts. On mothers day several years ago this same daughter bought me this trellis. If you look closely you will see the hearts made from vines at the top of the trellis. On this trellis the passion vine is growing. The summer my daughter passed away the farmer bought me three vines, one of them is a passion fruit producer while the other two are not. We planted these to climb upon the trellis my daughter gave me. I think of her each time I look at this trellis and these vines.

Here is a flower that opened up this morning. Below is the meaning of the flower. I know why she loved the symbolism.

It is said that the commonly grown edible passionflower and producer of passion fruit (P. edulis) is the species Spanish conquistadors came to use as symbols to teach Christianity to the indigenous people of the New World.

According to the conquistadors and their teachings here are what this flower represents.

*The five petals and five sepals of the plant were said to represent the 10 apostles (leaving out Judas, the betrayer of Jesus; and Peter, because he denied knowing Christ). 

*The purple corolla has approximately 72 filaments, which reportedly was the number of thorns in Jesus’ crown. 

*The three prominent stigmas of the plant were said to represent the nails used on the cross.

*The five stamens were claimed to symbolize the number of wounds in Jesus’ hands. (Catholics and those in South and Central America still call the plant the “flower of the five wounds.”) 

*The lance-like leaf lobes were explained as being symbolic of the spear that punctured Jesus’ side.

*The dark spots under the leaves said to symbolize the 33 pieces of silver paid to Judas to betray Jesus. 

*The flowers die after a single day – the time Jesus spent on the cross.

*Because the petals re-close over the ovary, the conquistadors pointed out that this was similar to Jesus being placed in the tomb and seen as the “hidden wisdom” that constitutes the “mysteries of the cross.”

Later, authors further embellished the symbolism of the plant so that the white petals came to represent the purity of Jesus; the palmate leaves, the hands of his persecutors; and the clinging tendrils, the cords of Jesus’ bondage or the whips with which he was lashed. The fruit then becomes the Earth, for which Jesus promised salvation.

Even if this Christian symbology is of no interest to you, this is an amazing vine and flower. The vine is easy to grow, and though vigorous and can invade somewhat mine seems not to be too much of a problem. I simply pluck any starts that I don't want when they pop up in the ground. And if you’re patient, it may even produce some tasty fruit for your garden in midsummer.


Kristi said...

Wow sis, I did not know that this was the flower Kyla loved - how beautiful. Thank you for sharing this memory - it means a lot to all of us who loved Kyla.

Tipper said...

I have always thought Passion Flowers were pretty-but I will never see one again that I don't remember this post and your daughter.

Junebug said...

I have never seen the flower before but the story is so moving and it brought me to tears. God bless your beautful memories. They will last for eternity. Someday there will be a resurrection!

Twinville said...

By the time I was halfway through this post, my tears were flowing.

I am so sorry for your loss. The death of a child is the worst kind of loss.

What a beautiful memory your passion flower-entwined trellis must be for you.

Mental P Mama said...

What a beautiful story. I love knowing the symbolism. And I think she knew...

noble pig said...

I love these flowers, we used to have them everywhere as a beautiful.

Em said...

I think passionflowers are some of the most beautiful flowers too. I do wish though that I hadn't planted one so close to a Japanese Maple! It took over the whole tree one year! I hadn't seen the sybolism for it yet. Thanks for the nice comments about my kids, I think they're wonderful!

The FarmHouse Triplets said...

Oh Vonda ... how you must miss her, but seeing that flower must surely remind you of the beauty she left behind. Her wonderful memory.

This too brough me too tears. My heart aches for your loss.

I don't comment often these days, but still play catch up on my late night visits. I need to slow down.


Country Girl said...

Wow, that's interesting! What a beautiful flower. I was so touched by this post.

"JEANNELLE" said...

What a lovely, moving story about your daughter, and the trellis, and the passion flower, whose explanation I've never heard before! Thank you!

CeeCee said...

What a beautiful post! I'm so sorry for you loss, I can't imagine going through that.
I'm glad you shared the story of the flowers. Passion flowers have always looked a little alien to me, but now that I know their story, I just might plant one. I love religious symbolism.

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

Thank you for sharing this, I had never heard it before. It is a very pretty flower. What a nice memory for you.

The W.O.W. factor said...

I too, will always remember this post when I see a Passion Flower.
What a beautiful memory for you to treasure ~forever. I'm sure your daughter feels the you so warmly shared yours of her through this post.
Blessings to you...