The Cross Gardener

The Cross Gardener

by Jason F Wright

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Overview

John Bevan finally found the loving family he lacked as an orphaned child. Then a fatal car accident steals away all he loves most. John erects two small crosses at the scene of the accident. One day, he meets a young man who is touching up the crosses with white paint-a man he knows only as The Cross Gardener. Their conversations and travels transform John's life, because The Cross Gardener's knowledge is heaven-sent...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425238851
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/05/2011
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jason F. Wright is the national bestselling author of Christmas Jars. He’s also a consultant whose editorial articles on politics, pop culture, and public policy have appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide. He serves as founder and managing editor of the widely read political destination, PoliticalDerby.com.

Jason fell in love with Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley while researching the area for The Wednesday Letters, and with the enthusiastic blessing of his wife, Kodi, he recently relocated with her and their four children to the historic town of Woodstock. A sign on their door says, “Friends welcome. Family by appointment only.”

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wednesday Letters comes an inspiring story of a man touched by tragedy—and the quiet stranger who helps him rediscover the joy in life, love and family…

John Bevan’s life was complete. Married to his high school sweetheart and father of a young daughter, John finally had the traditional family he lacked as an orphaned child. But all that disappears when a fatal car accident steals away his wife—and the unborn child she was carrying.

His heart filled with sorrow, John withdraws from life and love. He erects a small cross at the scene of his wife’s accident and visits daily, grieving. Then, one morning, he encounters a man kneeling before the crosses, touching them up with white paint.

Conversations with the mysterious stranger—known to him only as the Cross Gardener—begin to heal John’s heart. But only when they undertake a journey together does John truly come to see what he must embrace in this world—from the secrets of his own past to the sorrow of his wife’s passing—if he is to start his life anew. And only as the journey ends does John divine who his guide may really be.

From Jason F. Wright comes a timeless tale that explores the questions we ask when our lives are touched by loss: How do we carry on? Who will show us the way? The answers John Bevan finds may illuminate your world as they did his—for even in our darkest hour we are not alone.


ABOUT JASON F. WRIGHT

Jason F. Wright is the national bestselling author of Christmas Jars. He’s also a consultant whose editorial articles on politics, pop culture, and public policy have appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide. He serves as founder and managing editor of the widely read political destination, PoliticalDerby.com.

Jason fell in love with Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley while researching the area for The Wednesday Letters, and with the enthusiastic blessing of his wife, Kodi, he recently relocated with her and their four children to the historic town of Woodstock. A sign on their door says, “Friends welcome. Family by appointment only.”


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  1. John Bevan experiences more hardship in the first few years of his life than many people do in a lifetime. But he does eventually end up in a loving home on an apple orchard. How is this setting significant? What role does this apple orchard come to play in John’s life?
  2. There are three brothers in the Bevan family, Tim, Scott and John. Tim passes away, while Scott eventually marries. How are their relationships with John different and what roles do they play in John’s life?
  3. John’s adopted father, Wayne Bevan, had a wife who left him because she did not love the orchard as he did. However, John’s wife, Emma Jane, agrees to live at the orchard with John. Do you think Emma Jane is giving up her own dreams by doing this? Or is she creating new ones? What about Wayne Bevan’s wife? Do you know couples where one member has adopted another’s dream? How has this changed their relationship?
  4. In Chapter 9, tragedy strikes John Bevan once again on the side of a rural country rode. After it does he erects two crosses and visits daily. Do you think he visits in mourning or in tribute? Or both? Have you seen roadside crosses in your neighborhood? Do you know the stories behind them?
  5. In Chapter Sixteen, when John meets the Cross Gardener for the first time, he is at the crosses, touching them up with white pain. John wonders what sins the Cross Gardener is painting away. What do you think John means by this?
  6. Discuss John’s “Sunday Circuit.” Do you think this is his own version of church? Is it a valid one, or do you think John was turning his back on his faith?
  7. John has two children. His unborn son, Willard, dies before he enters this world. But his daughter Lou Lou lives. How does John interact with her after Emma Jane’s death? What does Lou Lou need from John?
  8. When Emma Jane’s parents, Bob and Michelle, suggest that Lulu stay with them, do you believe they are being supportive of John? Are they being supportive of Lou Lou? Are John’s and Lou Lou’s needs different and if so, can they be reconciled?
  9. Does John struggle with his own faith in this book? It seems as though Emma Jane was well-versed and confident in her faith, but do you think John’s beliefs are as strong? Discuss some instances in the novel where John grapples with his faith
  10. In Chapter 22, the Cross Gardener brings John to an untended road memorial which marks the site where two former orchard employees were killed. The Cross Gardener tells John that perhaps not all suffering has a cross, and not all crosses have suffering. What does he mean by this?
  11. Why does the Cross Gardener bring John to Travis’ funeral (p 176-177)? What do you think he hopes to show John by attending?

  12. Why does the Cross Gardener take John back to all the places where his loved ones have died? What does John learn from these visits?
  13. Discuss how discovering who the Cross Gardener really is, is the true test of John’s faith. How does this tie in to the Cross Gardener’s earlier quote, “No one dies alone?”
  14. How does John finally find the strength to move on? Were you surprised that he did? Did you think the book might end differently? Did you believe the Cross Gardener’s journey with John was “real”?
  15. Many people have stories of loved ones who appear to them after they’ve passed on, much as the Cross Gardener does with John. Have you, or has anyone you’ve known, had experiences like this? Do you believe this gift is possible?

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The Cross Gardener 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my life's work as a hospice chaplain, I often encounter surviving family members who are struggling with issues of loss and grief after a loved one dies. After reading The Cross Gardener by Jason Wright, I have now discovered a further resource for helping them to cope with the pain of death. I deeply appreciate the manner in which Wright gives a voice to the seering and paralyzing pain of grief and loss -- he pulls no punches and hence validates the experience of the grieving. But, he also helps with the normalization process by offering a deep sense of comfort -- comfort that is both psychologically sound and spiritually intuitive. For those who walk the journey of The Cross Gardener, they will discover healing, strength and recover for their ongoing recovery. I loved the book and regularly suggest it to others.
babester95 More than 1 year ago
I heard about this book through the Glenn Beck radio show and decided to read it. One of my 11yr old twin boys passed away 3 weeks after being diagnosed with leukemia so I felt the grief John Bevan was feeling. This book reminded me that I was not the only one coping with grief and that the surviving twin had the same loss as I did. I was trying to make up for all I didn't do with the child I had lost instead of making memories with the son I still had. I have read alot of books on grief and how to cope with grief but truly this one was the one that touched me and brought me to see what I couldn't see before and that is to cherish the remaining time I have with my surviving child and family.
ljsullivan More than 1 year ago
The Cross Gardener is one of the most beautiful and inspirational stories I have ever read. After waiting for its release with great anticipation, I was not disappointed and was unable to put it down. In fact, I didn't put it down until I read it a second time. I have enjoyed all of Jason Wright's books, however nothing compares to his latest. The Cross Gardener remains on your mind and in your heart long after closing the cover and placing it back on the shelf. In addition, it is a visually attractive book that has a very special place in my personal collection as well as in my heart. After receiving and reading my personal copy of The Cross Gardener, I purchased several additional copies which I have given as inspirational gifts to close friends and family and all have been touched in a way similar to what I experienced. Pick up your copy of The Cross Gardener at a Barnes & Noble near you today and take the time to lose yourself in this fabulous book. I guarantee you will be glad you did. On another note...don't forget to pick up a box of Kleenex while you are at it as you will need it I'm sure.
DanaBurgess on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On the cover, Don Piper is quoted: "Fresh and spiritual". I would have said: "Predictable and sappy". But that is not necessarily a bad thing as I would have been saying it through the runny nose and streaming tears on the airplane with the other passengers looking at me like I had lost it. 'The Cross Gardener" is an exploration of loss, of grief, and of survival. It is christian fiction and, therefore, also an exploration of spirituality and God's role in the lives of believers and non-believers alike.Unlike much of the christian literature I have read, 'The Cross Gardener' does not come off as some evangelical preacher's attempt to convert the reader. That doesn't mean that Jason Wright doesn't try and teach the reader - or perhaps better said - lead the reader to an understanding of his own personal beliefs using the novel as a vehicle. He does. But the religious tract does come off as more of an exploration than as Bible thumping.The novel reminded me very much of 'A Walk to Remember' by Nicholas Sparks. Religious girl meets non-religious boy, they fall in love, their perfect life is torn apart by means beyond their control, life goes on. (there are no spoilers there. That much you could get from the back of the book.) Unlike 'A Walk to Remember', 'The Cross Gardener' follows the events following the tearing apart of the perfect life. I really loved how Mr. Wright focused on men, and especially on fathers and their influence on the lives around them. Like I said, it is sappy and predictable - it is also lovely and emotional; sweet and naive with no edge. After reading the last page, wipe away the tears, heave a big sigh, smile a little and walk away with a heart that feels just a little lighter - right over to the man in your life and give him a well deserved hug.
tanya2009 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story of a man touched by tragedy and the stranger who helps him rediscover the joy to be found in life, love and family.
ThePublicLibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was a real tear jerker. I was sniffling and holding back tears while reading. It is a very touching story of one man's grief and how he dealt with it. If you need a good cry with a nice ending read this book.
Cottontail on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was a real tear jerker. It was well written and captivates the audience. I recommend everyone to read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book gave me some peace of mind that only God's promise can deliver. I think of the message each day and know that no matter where I am, or what I am doing that I am never alone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John was left to raise his daughter Lou Lou after his wife died in a car accident. Times are rough but then John meets a man who helps John through it. Great book
Whanner More than 1 year ago
This book is such a moving novel. It is quite deep but in a easy readable way. It has alot of touching spirituality in it and a surprise ending that is breathtaking. A must read - one of my favorites!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Browncurls More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic read. I could not put this book down. It was a fast read and very realistic. I felt a lot of the same feelings the main character did . This was written great!!!
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N L Cherry More than 1 year ago
Very thought provoking!
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onelov321 More than 1 year ago
the ebook may be more than it is in other forms. even if it were $30 i would still pay it. this is an excellent book. have already read it twice and will read plenty more times. this book and his book the wednesday letters are both EXCELLENT reads. i will buy anything jason f wright writes no matter the cost!
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"In The Cross Gardner, Jason F. Wright tells a timeless tale that explores the questions we ask when our lives are touched by loss: How do we carry on? Who will show us the way? The answers John Bevan finds may illuminate your world as they did his-for even in our darkest hour, we are not alone." This is from the inside cover of The Cross Gardner. You will be at peace once you have read this book if you are dealing with loss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago