Last Wednesday afternoon, someone greeted me with the words, “Happy spring!” Then she corrected herself. She said, “Well, actually it will be spring at 5:58 p.m. this afternoon.” I was impressed. With everything else in life happening, I hadn’t kept up with when the March Equinox would take place and spring would be sprung. But I was glad to know. I have always loved the spring season.
When our kids were growing up, I never felt like the season had come until they had their spring break at school. Then, as a family, we would load up the car, I would take the Sunday off, and we would head to the beach. Ironically, I almost always found more of my members were at the beach with me than back home going to church.
This weekend marks the front edge of spring break for the public school system. Of course, many of our children and youth here at DUMC attend private schools and they all set their calendars a little different. A number have already had their break. In any case, spring is upon us.
Spring is a reminder that ultimately the harsh coldness of winter does not win the day. During winter’s coldest days, when the freezing rain drizzles, the sun is nowhere to be seen, the trees are barren, the grass is brown, and the flowers have locked themselves into a bedroom, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Yes, you still go about your responsibilities. Yes, you still keep putting one foot in front of the other. However, often there is a kind of gloominess about it all.
Then comes spring. The sun spreads its arms and showers the earth with its warmth. The trees start to leaf, the grass turns green and the flowers start waking up to a new life. On those days, everything just feels better. Hope stands a little taller. Joy is a little more evident. And life feels more like…well…life!
This is not just the way it is with the earth, it is also a metaphor for the seasons of our lives. We all go through seasons that feel more like winter. We face problems at the office. Loved ones go through extended illnesses and die. Financial challenges descend upon us. Friendships get strained. There is a kind of harshness to life and we think to ourselves, “Well, it can’t get any worse than this,” and then something else happens and it does get worse.
I remember our family once went through a time like this. It lasted about two years. As we were going through it, Carol and I wondered if it was ever going to end. But eventually it did and life got better. The dark cloud that seemed to follow us began to disappear. We started laughing more, dreaming more and enjoying each day that was given to us.
It is important to remember this. It is important to remember that winter comes to an end. It is important to remember that the time does come that Solomon wrote about in his Song of Songs, “…for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.” (2:11–12) For remembering this helps you not only to be grateful for the lessons learned, but also for the grace that has seen you through the winter.