By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, August 27, 2015

The best gardener in Bishopville, South Carolina is named Pearl, and no she is not a matriarch of the local garden club. Instead, this man named Pearl became a gardener, not by his attendance at the garden club, but by his frequenting the garbage dump. For nearly thirty-five years, Pearl Fryar has tended a garden of his own creation built from scrap plants from other nurseries’ compost piles.

A few years ago, Erin and I visited his garden and were amazed at how his creations rise high above his modest single-story ranch home on a quiet, straight street in Bishopville. His topiaries seem to defy gravity as geometric shapes of green seem to hover around a thin, core trunk. Fryar has carved skeletal topiaries and whimsical evergreens that rise above his yard that read: Love, Peace, and Goodwill…. all of this from near dead plants that most people consider junk.

If you live long enough, then you know something about the junk pile of life. Not the literal junkyard, where old appliances and bygone classic cars go to rust, but instead that part of you that feels dead, bygone, or over. Consider today the thing, person, moment, or memory you just tossed on the junk pile. Is there still life to be lived?

Stories like that of Pearl Fryar remind me to take a second look at the gifts in my life that are long forgotten or the people that I have long since written off. Tending to the junk pile of our lives may make room for something new to grow from that which was thought  to be dead. Maybe even faith, hope, and love might grow like an evergreen in your life once again.