by Sally AsKew
March 6, 2015
Psalm 137:1-4, Common English Bible: Alongside Babylon’s streams, there we sat down, crying because we remembered Zion. We hung our lyres up in the trees there because that’s where our captors asked us to sing; our tormentors requested songs of joy: “Sing us a song about Zion” they said. But how could we possibly sing the Lord’s song on foreign soil?
In 1970 Albert was appointed to the McCaysville-Williamstown Charge. These two churches were right up on the North Carolina state line and far from anything we had ever known. The parsonage was very small and probably no more than 5-6 feet off the main road.
Being so far away from friends and family was a big adjustment for us. It was probably harder on me than on Albert who had work to do in getting to know the church people and preparing to preach twice each Sunday. I ended up teaching school that year as the elementary school was without a 6-8 grade social studies teacher at the last minute. Dennis began school, and we walked or rode to school together each day.
It was a very cold, icy, and snowy winter which was different for us. We had seen snow but never experienced not being able to get out or to drive for days at the time. The snow was much too dirty to play in because of the pollution. I really felt displaced and unhappy.
In February I looked out the back window and saw crocus peeping up out of the snow. I had planted crocus in West Point and loved them. However, I had no idea these crocus were there until I spied them peeping out. It reminded me of the words in Psalm 137 when the Israelites were in exile and asked to sing “a song about Zion.” I became aware that I had been virtually sitting under a tree and lamenting my fate.
Seeing the crocus brought me up short and made me realize that no matter how terrible the situation God was there before I was. I reminded myself over and over that no matter how desolate the landscape and how terrible things were God was still there. That memory of the crocus has stayed with me for all these years, every time I feel like sitting under a tree and crying, I remember those crocus.