Monday, March 03, 2008

February Showers bring March Flowers...

I love California in February and March. Spring comes very early here. There really aren't 4 seasons here like the midwest, but March always seems like a turning point. This week it's supposed to be 75 degrees and sunny every day. I have pangs of guilt even writing this because so many of you are still very much in the throes of winter. February and March are probably the worst months for those of you in the midwest. I remember thinking "Will the gray cold days EVER go away?" But they always do...
There's an obvious metaphor in the transition
from winter to spring. We all have situations in our lives that reflect the winter. The cold, wet, gray weather gives such a sense of bleakness. And sometimes that bleakness seems endless.
Last year at this time I was feeling incredibly bleak. We had just lost Bryan; my dad was undergoing chemo treatments; my brother was in Iraq; I was trying to gather the energy and will to finish my master's degree; I was still getting used to a new caregiver; friendships were changing; and Aaron was struggling with all of these things too- with varying degrees of intensity.
I'm not sure of the exact day I began to see signs of spring. I wish I had written it down. I just remember waking up one night around 2 AM with an old familiar tune from my St. Charles days going through my head. It even took me a few minutes to remember the words:

Jesus, lover of my soul
Jesus, I will never let you go
You've taken me from the miry clay
You've set my feet upon the rock
And now I know
I love you I need you
Though my world may fall
You'll never let go
My Savior my closest Friend
I will worship you until the very end

Whenever that day was, it was my first glimpse of spring. And since then, spring has produced some beautiful things.
Bryan's memory lives on in our hearts and through Bryan House (see for more info!) ; my dad's chemotherapy was successful; my brother made it safely home from Iraq; I finished my master's degree; I still have my caregiver; I've made new friendships; and Aaron has been through all of this- with varying degrees of intensity.
We also are hosting and leading a LIFE group; I'm preaching, teaching and counseling; Melissa is healed; my sister is having another baby in May; Aaron is having a good year.
This summer we are going to use our travel agency gift certificate we received from Aaron's students last year on a cruise to Alaska. It's a dream we've had for a long time but never thought we could afford.
We are also going to spend 2 1/2 weeks at Southern Oregon University so Aaron can begin his master's degree.
So things are good. I was reflecting on the seasons of this past year as I was sitting on my porch in the 70 degree sun today. There have been rainy days, but the signs of life are always so hopeful. Many of you know that I love tulips. I even named my cat Tulip! I love tulips because they are usually the first spring flower to poke their heads up through the ground after being dormant all winter. The bloom is always an intense bright color and the leaves are so smooth and streamlined and simple. Nothing fancy. They don't last long in California because it gets too hot, so I was enjoying my tulips today while I was outside.

I am very grateful that God fulfills his promise of spring in our lives--and now I have time to sit on my patio and enjoy it. I realize that all of you don't have the privilege and luxury of many spare moments in your day, but try to take some time and look for the signs of spring around you. They are there.

Much love to you all-