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  • Writer's pictureCherie Calletta

Against all odds: The persistence of beauty

courtesy photo

“You are not the darkness you endured. You are the light that refused to surrender.” – John Mark Green

I’ve started a new goal of walking a mile in the morning. Three weeks and it’s a habit.

I start on Cottage Avenue, go up Second Street, then French Street and Egg Harbor Road , and on to Bellevue Avenue. Then I turn on Third Street and go back past the school and St. Joseph’s and head on home. It’s roughly the same route as the Procession. It’s a little more than a mile, and the route is made up of the most familiar scenes of my childhood.

This morning as I was passing the church, something caught my eye… I went on a bit and then turned around because I felt compelled to take a photo of what I saw on those well-known, “Meet me at the Church steps” during Feast Week.

In the worst of conditions, away from the comfort and softness and normalcy of a nurturing soil bed, in the midst of punishingly cold, hard merciless concrete there was a single, lovely little violet struggling mightily to grow—and it was winning.

Against all odds or expectations, a miniscule seed of the violet had been randomly blown by the wind or carried by a bird and had somehow made its way into a tiny crack at the entrance to a place where the Creator of the universe is worshipped. This tiny, precious blue and purple flower had found its way through the planets in their courses and had made its fragile self an island home, however temporary. After all—when it comes to the physical world, what isn’t temporary?

That little flower prevailed.

That violet is a winner’s bouquet for all the abandoned and abused children, all the partners left rejected and devastated, all those whom society strives to throw away. That flower proclaims: Fight your way through, not just to survival, but to a place of blossoming and thriving.

Fight like a violet.

In that tiny crevice, mercifully unnoticed by any well-meaning caretakers on the hunt for “weeds,” it found just enough soil to make its way, meander its persistent, viny little feet down, root itself and insist that it would survive, live and blossom.

And it did.

It seems meet and right that it found its place on the doorstep of one of the houses where the Most Gracious and Merciful is worshipped. I’m glad I saw it and photographed it before someone came to sweep it away.

There are so many lessons embedded in creation. They are everywhere we look.

Cherie Calletta was born and raised in Hammonton. She went to Japan for four years to teach English as a foreign language. She later spent about five years in Germany outside of Frankfurt am Main. After several years in Charlotte, North Carolina, she returned to Hammonton in 2002.


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