Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Hollow Beginning of Spring

It's a cold Tuesday for the 9th of April. I tell myself this because surely it should be warmer by now. So I'm saying 50 degrees is chilly, and the tiny purple flowers wilted overnight, so that's some kind of proof.

I have just dropped the car off at the auto shop. Men in blue jeans and oil stained blue jackets smile at me as I hand the keys over. Places like this always remind me of a garage I imagine a grandfather would have. One old calendar stained with grease, one sign that says "This too shall pass" and another that hangs crooked with some sentiment of days gone by and good cars gone bad.

The city stroll provides the constant hum of traffic, rain-soaked sidewalks and the hint of spring everywhere I turn. Landscapers have already started work on this avenue's mansions. Collections of leaves leftover from the fall, tree branches that did not last the winter, scattered everywhere. I'm left to dodge them and step around the things that are dead and are now gathered into piles. (When I was a kid, these were burn piles. And we'd gather around them on spring and summer nights, on evenings after an afternoon of clearing the yard and underbrush. My father would light up a cigar to keep watch, we'd call it a bonfire and smell the old, smoking wood. We'd toss in anything that was garbage-worthy and watch how fire destroyed most things. But, here, I digress.)

With my hands in my pockets and music stirring my heart, I can only think of Pride and Prejudice. Or the old motherland. Or New York City. Places and eras where walking was and is so standard, that any other option seems lazy, too time consuming, or just completely unnecessary and inconvenient.

My boots are splashing, and I feel my cheeks warming red to the crisp breeze. And I think of Mr. Darcy and Lizzy, and this:

"I am afraid, Mr. Darcy," observed Miss Bingley, in a half-whisper, "that this adventure has rather affected your admiration of her fine eyes."
"Not at all," he replied; "they were brightened by the exercise.

And maybe you're reading all of this and wondering,
Why on earth is she writing about walking,
and wilting flowers,
and greasy auto shops
and city streets?

I find that the quiet space between the Father and I seems more frequent than I wish. It's not as though I don't hear Him still, but I find that more often than not, my heart is pushing and pulling against Him daily. Last week at church we heard how the work of Grace can feel cyclical. How there's a cycle of death and resurrection. How there are valleys and peaks, and that each is part of this greater revelation of Grace.

So for me on days when I feel I am still meandering in darker valleys,
or when I'm not convinced that all that is supposed to be dead within me has actually breathed its last,
or on days when I find God shouting to me from wilting flowers, dead winter branches,
and through grandfather-like signs on dusty blue auto shop walls,
I want to tell you.

I want to tell you that it's not all poetic reflections by twilight,
or words from my daughter that echo in my soul.
Somedays she tells me I'm the worst mother ever,
and I'm left searching for the Grace of God that meets me in rainy walks and iPod songs.

So today I'm stepping into that hollow silence,
and whispering that
even I feel nothing,
I am still, even now, even always
complete in Christ.
Even if nothing else pans out, 
that truth has, and is, and will.

1 comment:

  1. "even I feel nothing,
    I am still, even now, even always,
    complete in Christ.
    Even if nothing else pans out,
    that truth has, and is, and will."

    Thanks, sister.