In a Midwest spring, the sky hangs low and gray, with muted sunshine. The grass transitions slowly to a bright green when the snow finally recedes.
April is a season of change, a transition from one extreme to another, in this part of the country. Winter winds blast us from the north, and drenching seasonal rains fall during this in-between time. While spring in the south is already dotted with lacy flowering trees, spring is still sprouting its legs in the colder Midwest.
I find the same is true for my life: it is constantly in the midst of one change or another. I discover something new emerging, changing, transitioning, growing, and dying—sometimes, all at once. There is always something to remember, and something to forget, something to cry about, something to laugh about, something buried, and something resurrected.
New tomato and lettuce seeds are sprouting in paper cups, sitting in front of a window. They can’t be transplanted outdoors until after Memorial Day, when a cold freeze won’t endanger the seedlings.
One of my kids will be headed to college, and I watch a different kind of growth and flourishing. I see an image of a branch with leaves and blossoms, and somehow I feel this represents my children. They are growing and branching away, soon to be off on their own, with hopes and future dreams tucked away and taking root.
I want to remember what is good and true and what is useful to remember, and forget what needs to be forgotten. I can’t seem to throw off memories as far as the east is from the west, though, but thankfully, God can take care of the parts that I can’t. Each day holds enough dirt of its own—the good and bad kind—soil which is nourishing and warm, and the dirt of something broken and shattered.
April tussles between winter and spring, a restless season, like a tug-of-war (do kids nowadays even know what tug-of-war is?) Perhaps it is just as well. It is another change.
I feel more changes coming on. I dig my heels deeper in the ground, cognizant of the soil around me. During this past year, with all the vagueness and uncertainty, I’ve experienced long stretches of restlessness.
“God, our hearts are restless ‘til they find their rest in you.” – Augustine
Where has my heart been? I know it is prone to wander. Perhaps this is part of the secret for restlessness?
Something new is growing. A new side of my voice, just as spring breaks forth unexpectedly out this frozen tundra. It was always there, this voice, but maybe it was the wrong season before, and maybe now the time has come.
Perhaps something new is growing in your life, too. Spring is like that—reminding of newness and sprouting hope where tears have fallen. It may sound trite and cliché, but I always look forward to learning this lesson anew each year. I need these reminders that Someone bigger than me is in charge of all that changes and all that stays the same. Hope blankets the world in a sea of green in this season, and it is exactly what my soul needs.
Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants. – Deuteronomy 32:2