Thursday, February 7, 2013

Looking for Life in Spring

It is raining out. Droplets of cold water are falling, falling, falling, onto the pure white snow covering the ground.  The crystalline snowflakes are losing their form and melting into bland water; 8 inches has melted into 7 inches and, by the end of the day, may be completely gone, leaving dark muddy naked dead ground behind.

I hate spring in the North (yes, I know it's not spring yet, but today is acting like a spring day). It tears the beautiful snow away from my world, and turns clear, cold days of reflected sunlight and red smiling cheeks into dreary gray days of bone-chilling humidity and dirty mud tracked everywhere.  In the winter, you can go sledding and ice skating; in the fall, you can play football and have bonfires; in the summer, you can go swimming and picnicking. In the spring, you can just do your best to avoid the mud.  At least, that's how I feel about it.  I miss spring in Texas, when the world begins to blossom in March, and I'm on hands and knees planting a garden in the fresh dirt surrounded by flowering trees.  March in Illinois is just dreary and wet.

Yet, the snow must melt. The rain must fall. And the mud must mix into the sub-soil.  Because when it does, and the dirty job of spring is done, everything turns green, flowers bloom, and birds sing.  Baby animals frolic in tender pasture, and people shed layers of clothing for the freedom of a t-shirt and jeans.  And color is everywhere.

I love the beauty of individual snowflakes and of millions of snowflakes combined in a drift.  I love the wildness of stark trees against white snow and blue sky.  I love seeing my favorite constellation, Orion, drift lazily above me, and I love gazing at the bright, colorful diamond-star Sirius.  I love feeling the cold air tingle on my cheeks and turn them red, then coming inside and shaking the snow off and curling up with a cup of hot chocolate and a blanket in front of a fire.

But I love June, as well, with her fully green trees and perfect 70's temperatures.  I love the strobes and crashes of an intense summer thunderstorm that comes and goes in the space of 20 minutes. I love racing across cool water, balancing on two long, thin boards and feeling water droplets fall off my body.  I love being outside every day and seeing something new each day.  Winter has its time, and so does summer, but it's not possible without painful spring.

I go through seasons of spring in my life, as well. I'm in one of those seasons right now. I enjoyed the season of college life and even had it extended as my husband finished his degree and we lived on campus.  Next we hope is the season of being settled somewhere and staying at home, raising our kids while my husband works.  I look forward to homeschooling.  But right now is that dreary in-between time.  It's been 6 months since my husband graduated, and he is still searching for a job.  We have been blessed with the gift of a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and occasional part-time work, but bills stack up and the baby gets older and we would love to be on our own.  But I am learning, in this time, to trust God more, and He is maturing me beyond the college stage.  (and, I have to say, in spite of the stress of being unemployed, we have truly enjoyed our time staying with my parents; it has also been a period of relaxation after the stress of working & going to college & being involved in much at college)

God is also teaching me to enjoy each stage and not look forward to the future so much that I miss what is happening now.  So I am doing that with this spring in my life, enjoying the time with my parents and Jordan's parents and enjoying our baby while she is still a baby, and I will even do that with the spring that will happen in about a month outside.  I will avoid the mud, but I will also look for the seedlings poking their heads above the muck, bringing life to the grey world.

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