I am reading Spiritual Rhythm, by Mark Buchanan. (Brilliant. Read it, please.)
I started reading last summer, and I plowed through the chapter of Winter. Buchanan affirmed my dark barrenness, and I found myself in his every word. When I finished that chapter, I turned the page and began to read his words on spring.
I felt like I was reading an auto manual. Yes, I could read the words, but they made no sense at all. Gobblety gook.
On August 10, 2011, I wrote in the margin:
I am trying to find spring.
Such an elusive season.
I seem to see buds peeking through, only to become hardened by another cold frost that sweeps in overnight.
I have tried to peek around the corner and into the next chapter ... yet the words of fruit and flower seem empty to me.
Perhaps spring must begin on its own calendar.
Perhaps I cannot wish -- or read -- myself into a new season.
I put the book on the shelf. No use in pretending.
But it recently called to me from the shelf. Books do this. They do, they whisper. They ask for another chance, a reunion, a lunch date.
Once again, I opened to the chapter of Spring, but this time - nine months later - the timing was right. Each paragraph unfolded with such clarity. Again, Buchanan affirmed the season of my heart.
I can tell at a glance when a church or a home is joyless and without peace: the grounds and the buildings tell the story before anything else. Neglect. Withering. Rankness. Debris. Trees dying, weeks run amok. When there's no song from the hills or applause from the trees, it's a given that there's not much singing and clapping, joy and peace, anywhere close by.
Creation follows our lead, not the other way around. It waits for our cue.
When the ground is right and the air is right, what God does with our small efforts is breathtaking. If you're in spring, why not do both: plant something in the ground and plant something in the world? Let each betoken the other.
So, if there is life in my spirit, it will manifest in my home.
I knew immediately what we needed: our petunias again.
We talked to Robb while we planted. We pretended he could hear us, because maybe he can.
I watched those little dirty hands hard at work, and I remembered when he once talked about the day when we wouldn't have to fit this task into their naptime, when we would have them outside planting with us. I told him I remembered those conversations; I told him the day had come.
The natural overflow of our reignited love for God and humanity is our awakened love for creation, our enlarged capacity to see it, enjoy it, and care for it.
Everywhere, and all at once, death turns to life.
Everywhere and all at once, life -
and life to the full - returns.
Everywhere, and all at once, spring.
And with it, hope.
Yes. Our springtime has come.