Outside my window, everything is blooming.
One day last week, as we walked through a Target parking lot of all places, Evan exclaimed, “Why are there flowers on EVERY tree?!” (His allergies weren’t thrilled about it.)
“This is what spring is!” I exclaimed, much more excited about the prospect.
In Florida, there are four seasons: summer, summer, DEFINITELY SUMMER, and summer. For approximately 2.7 days, the temperature will drop below 70 degrees, and we all pull out boots and scarves, and we wistfully call it “fall.” It hardly qualifies as it’s own season. And as far as foliage goes, it’s dark green, tropical, and swampy, all day every day.
When Evan and I came to Grand Rapids for our house hunting trip, everything was covered in a foot of snow and very, very gray. Every tree was just bare brown branches, sprawling and reaching up like spindly spider legs. Because our lawn was buried in snow, we weren’t really sure what we’d find when we moved in. When we finally got here in April, I thought I discovered a bunch of dead bushes and trees dotting our yard: just sticks, nothing green.
Apparently, I was wrong! Everything is blooming. What I thought was a dead bush out front is actually hydrangea, and it’s sprouting the most beautiful, wide green leaves that grow larger every day. Out our dining room window is a tree that had been completely bare, but sure enough, some green and red leaves have started poking out along the branches. In the backyard, a patch of leaves looks like it may in fact be daffodils or tulips.
This is so exciting! Dead things coming to life all around me. As I list what I’m grateful for each day, inevitably, the plants and flowers are making the list. And this from someone purports to hate being outdoors for too long.
As the whole world comes to life around me, I’m wondering: is it spring within me, too? Admittedly, I don’t feel like I’m blooming. By nature of our move, I have fewer people to see, nothing much on our calendar, no real to-do list to plow through. I’ve peeled back some of the extra, but most of it never felt like excess to begin with. Have you ever seen a plant that’s been pruned harshly? The branches short, stubby, and bare, only a few spots of color remaining? I feel a bit like that.
Yet I look out my front window now, our street so still and sunny, the trees so green and some of them full, and I know that the pruning always serves a purpose. We have to make room for new growth, after all. You know that poem, about how the sun doesn’t strive or compare by simply shines? The same goes for the trees: they don’t achieve or plan, but just bloom. Can I be this way, too?
I hope it’s not a tired metaphor, all this talk of pruning and blooming and sunshine. But I just can’t help it! As I’m enveloped in what seems to be a real Spring for the first time in my life, it makes more sense to me than ever. It’s no wonder, really, that Jesus talked all the time of planting and harvesting, reaping and sowing, abiding and growing.
Check in with me about this again after months of hard winter, but there is something to be said for living in a place where you can clearly see and feel the seasons changing around you. It’s reminding me that our God is not only present and moving in the circumstances and events of our lives, but also in the very ground on which we walk, the water we drink, the sun and starts that light our way. He is a creator, after all, not just a strategist.
I’m praying for spring within me, too. Admittedly, I feel stuck and stagnant at the moment, when even going to the grocery store feels like an adventure I barely have energy for. I want to feel vibrant and alive. I want to grow and stretch. I know this is a good environment for it, so I’m leaning in and asking for the grace to push through the dirt toward the sun.