What the Lilacs Say

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 4.43.22 PMWalking up our country road, it comes. Wafting along on the wings of a breeze, the scent of lilacs invite. And there they are.

In spring’s fullest bloom, wearing purple dresses, the neighbor’s lilac bush is full, is fragrant. And just like that, I’m back on the farm, running ‘long the lane. At Grandma’s house.

I can see them now, stretching down that drive of dirt—white and purple lilacs on a wheat farm in Kansas. The farm. Where cousins played, shouting shrill into the night. Where small fry hid, nerves jangling, then sprinting to kick that can and to get there first . . .

Lilacs. Lanes. Cousins and wheat. Machines cut swaths through fields of gold, children sit high on grain in trucks, chewing ’til it turns into gum.

We’re walking past this towering bush dropping petals down, and memories, and I’m standing in her kitchen. Right back on her green linoleum, hand dipping into a cookie jar, closing around a sugar wafer. There at Grandma’s house.

Scent of lilacs. The image of roses. The way she chuckled and the smile that shone when we’d walk in. All of that, and a sunset.

We’re past it now, still walking. Just walking. Up the road’s our home where children await our return. And in my mind—one spectacular sunset.

The day we buried her, we cried. Hugged necks. Told stories. Laughed belly laughs, of course, as Yoders always do.

Then came evening, hands working together in a plain church kitchen. And suddenly, a cry, “Come quick! You-all must see this!”

A cousin’s flung the door wide open. We spill out, old and young, faces turned right up. There, above the horizon, a brilliant sunset blazes ‘cross the western sky. Molten golds, fire in orange, streaks of red all glorious and bright.

We stop dead; awe, wonder, worship. Grandma’s there, just past that sunset, right on the other side. His Word’s all true, He meant what He said, and she—well, Grandma’s waiting.
At Home. Just up the road, right around the bend. In the Father’s house, she—He—they await our arrival. And we, together, all of us here, we’re walking, faces turned toward the sunset.

That’s what the lilacs say.

*A special note from Suzanne: Thank you to everyone who participated in last week’s Friday Fun. I loved reading about your pets! The winner of a copy of Amish Values for Your Family is Terry Petrino! Please email your mailing address to info@suzannewoodsfisher.com to claim your prize! *Only those in the U.S. are eligible to win.

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About Rhonda Schrock

Rhonda Schrock lives in Northern Indiana with her husband and 4 sons, ages 22 to 6. By day, she is a telecommuting medical transcriptionist. In the early morning hours, she flees to a local coffee shop where she pens “Grounds for Insanity,” a weekly column that appears in The Goshen News. She is an occasional guest columnist in The Hutch News. She’s also blogged professionally for her son’s school of choice, Bethel College, in addition to humor and parenting blogs. She is a writer and editor for the magazine, “Cooking & Such: Adventures in Plain Living.” She survives and thrives on prayer, mochas, and books. Her new home in cyberspace is at http://RhondaSchrock.com.


  1. Melanie Backus says:

    Rhonda, your story is absolutely beautiful. For the brief moments that I read, I was there with you running and smelling the lilacs. How very fortunate you are to have the glorious memories and I, like you, want to one day be there to see my grandmother again. Thank you.

  2. This is our great and glorious hope; that our separation is only temporary, and then a “forever reunion.”

    Wishing you a happy fall, Melanie.

  3. Rhonda, your writing is beautiful, lyrical, and a true blessing! Thank you for sharing your precious memories!

  4. Karen Lange says:

    I like hearing about what the lilacs have to say. I also like hearing what one small, caffeinated American mom has to say too. 🙂

  5. It’s a privilege, Britney. Hopefully you also have happy memories of your own grandmother and the beauty those evoke.

    Karen, thanks! Your vote of confidence is so happily received. 😀

  6. Debbie Rhoades says:

    what a beautiful story. Thanks, Rhonda, I could see myself there! You really know how to paint a memory!

  7. So beautiful, Rhonda. I came across an Amish proverb yesterday that reminded me of your piece: “If heaven is so beautiful on a starry night, what must it be like on the other side?”

    Thank you for sharing your lovely words!