Springtime Sonata

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I returned home yesterday from traveling a few days in central Illinois, where the air temperature was in the lower- to mid-80s, and farmers were zooming around their dusty fields in their tractors, preparing the soil for planting. When I had left our little corner of Michigan on Wednesday morning, the trees had an abundance of shy, green buds waiting to pop open. Trillium dotted the landscape at a local county park amid a minimalist-green backdrop. Upon my arrival home, instead of shy, tentative buds, I was greeted by fully-foliaged trees, and a bush in our back yard that was so abundant with small, white blossoms that it looked like popcorn had popped all over it.

Spring is very much on my mind these days; not just meteorological spring, but also personal seasons of spring, where lessons are learned after the winter seasons of life. I recently read a journal entry from 3.11.15, written while working in southern Indiana. Spring fever was apparent as I wrote these words:

“Maybe it’s the weather, that glorious thaw beginning to relax the icy grip of winter. Perhaps it’s the extra sunlight in my retinas. It could be the recent victories, benchmarks of progress: [my husband] getting accepted into the PhD program, and [my husband] fighting the battle to graduate in May – and against some serious opposition – he won! Also, a general rapport with [my husband] that has sustained itself over many months – we bicker at times, but end of up humoring our way out of a deceleration into madness.

“Maybe it’s the way the roads stretch out before me, long and fluid, leading to possibilities. It could be the hike through [the local county park] on Sunday, trudging through more than two feet of old snow, followed by [a long-time friend], whose face took on a ruddy, healthy look, contrasting nicely against the backdrop of the white, brown, and gray winter landscape.

“It’s possible that returning to and working on my blog, in addition to visiting and writing in my journal after a short dry spell, has something to do with it…

“…or maybe it’s because my back hasn’t been hurting lately – I’m back to that elusive place where it almost feels like it was never injured last year, and that’s a beautiful victory – for now.

“One last possibility is that it’s my new morning devotional time, reading Jo Ann Davidson’s ‘Glimpses of Our God’, seeing her passion illuminating the fabric of her words. Plus I’m really pausing to pray to God in the morning, in addition to the conversations that I normally have with Him throughout the day.

“Or it could be a combination of all these things. “I’m waking up to a joy that I haven’t had for a long time, and the messed-up pessimist in me is struggling to believe that I’m even in this current place.

“I am, as they say, ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop”, as if I don’t deserve this current rest area along the way. I’m enjoying the scenery, the sunshine on my winter-weary soul, the progress and laughter with my husband, being outdoors (with longtime friends, no less!), the writing, the diminution of my almost-constant back pain, the joy of rediscovering God. So why can’t I just sit here, soak it all in? Thank God for all of it? Because I know this can’t remain this way. And already I’m preparing myself for that giant shoe to drop, the way that small tree crashed suddenly onto the hood of my Toyota Corolla last July while driving on I-80 in Illinois. I’m waiting for it so I’m not surprised by the disappointment. Yes, it’s cliché, but I’ll say it anyway: I’m still learning to pause and just enjoy this moment. I couldn’t appreciate all of these ‘sparkles’ if I didn’t have to dig through so much to dirt to get here:

  • “The cold, brittle winter to appreciate the slide into warm, majestic spring.
  • Working through four years of supporting my husband’s studies to see him progress to the next important step in his life, and mine.
  • Navigating some challenging communication in order to understand one another and get past the snags of conflict.
  • The illness that I had three weeks ago that dropped me back to ‘sedentary’ status – now I appreciate health even more than I thought I could.
  • The back injury in February 2014 that plagued me for most of this last year, which also caused me to take exercise and dependence on God more seriously.”

These are the thoughts I wrote on that day in March. With the wisdom of hindsight, I know the growing process is worth it. For now, I’ll bookmark this moment of clarity and revisit it when the next shoe decides to drop.

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