Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring is Here~Hope Has Won!

Most every year as Spring approaches, my heart feels a little bit lighter.

No matter how dark and dreary or cold and snowy the winter days, hope starts coming to life in this heart of mine the closer it gets to the First Day of Spring.

It mirrors the changes in the world around me.

One day it may seem like Spring is never ever going to come again.

And then one day, I look outside my back door and see the first Red-Breasted Robin in the middle of February.

And then another day, I look outside, and lo and behold, patches of green are starting to appear on the cold, wet ground, where only dust and dirt and grimy mud lay the day before.

And then on yet another day, the first tender blooms of color appear as a brave flower shoots up to challenge the winter cold.

Today is March 20, the official First Day of Spring on our calendar.

In some ways, it looks nothing like our traditional idea of Spring outside today where I live.

It has taken all the faith and hope I can muster to really believe Spring has come.

All night on the Eve of Spring and all day today on the First Day of Spring, New Mexico hovered in the icy cold of a Winter Storm Warning.

By 8 p.m. on the Eve of Spring, we already had an inch of cold, wet snow on the ground.

I watched helplessly as that Red-Breasted Robin swayed on a tree branch, looking puzzled by the sudden change in the weather.

I wondered how that Robin would make it through the cold, cold night now that winter had returned with a relentlessly freezing blast of gusty winds and snow and ice.

Blustery winds howled all night, so loud I could hear them from inside my house, where I was bundled up cozy and warm.

I awoke to greet the First Day of Spring bundled up in coat and scarf and wearing my big, heavy snow boots because even more snow had fallen overnight.

As I let my Best Dog Bella out of the house early in the morning, I grabbed a shovel to clear off the back porch steps of snow and ice.

The First Day of Spring temperature where I live hovered at 9-degrees with the windchill. Snow was blowing every which way, so much that it was hard to see. Virtual white-out conditions.

Glistening ice coated every tree limb and icicles hung frozen from my rooftop.

With freezing fingers, I walked into my backyard to take a few photographs to document this First Day of Spring.

And then I saw it.

That same fat, little Red-Breasted Robin perched nearly unseen up in a nearby bare tree. Literally out on a limb. All alone but steadfast. Hanging on. And hanging in there.

It was crazy cold outside. I swear I could see that little bird shivering up on that tree limb. (lower right limb)

But that Red-Breasted Robin stayed right there. Immovable, even in the face of every sign that Spring was not coming after all.

And then I felt it.

Joy in my heart.

A smile on my face.

And something that feels like Hope again.

It didn’t look anything like Spring outside.

It didn’t even look like the promise of Spring.

But it was still the morning of the First Day of Spring.

And I knew in my heart that soon, these last signs of winter would go away.

In their place would be new growth, new beauty, warm sunlight and the singing of birds.

Tonight, as I write this on the First Day of Spring, most of the snow has already melted.

The icy blast of winter has given way to blue skies and sunshine trying to warm the world again. The earth is dark and rich and moist and ready for growth.

Patches of green have reappeared everywhere. Even seeing green weeds makes me smile now. I’m thinking about the garden I will plant in their place soon.

More birds are singing outside in my backyard now.

That Red-Breasted Robin is no longer alone.

And neither am I.

The last 19 months and 2 days have been agonizingly painful for me since losing my only sister.

Some of the years even before that felt like endless winter at times, as I survived other rounds of loss and trauma. Some I’ve written about before; some stories have yet to be written.

There have been many, many times these last 19 months and 2 days when I felt like winter’s chill would never let me go. There were many, many times when I wondered if I would ever be able to wholeheartedly celebrate Spring again.

I still had faith. I have a very, very strong faith in God that has survived the harshest seasons of my life.

I haven’t always trusted Him as easily as that trusting little Robin clinging to the bare branch in faith that Spring would come. But I do have faith.

I still had hope. I have a very, very stubborn hope that has helped me survive season after season of pain and joy.

But at times during the last 19 months and 2 days, I have almost felt guilty having hope and feeling joy.

Lately, though, God has gently been reaching out to me and showing me all over again how great, how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love really is.

He has been showing me through the people around me the depth of His kindness and mercy and grace.

And knowing how truly loved I am has made me dare to believe that Spring is really here.

Knowing the depth of God’s loving kindness has helped me dare to believe again in Hope.

Now, like that crazy little full-of-faith Red-Breasted Robin, I’m going out on a limb to hold onto Hope.

Like that little bird who knows God can be trusted no matter what the world looks like, I will not be moved.

At long last, Spring is here.

I am loved.

Hope has won.
~~~By Janet Lyn~~~
My beloved spoke, and said unto me,
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

For, lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come, and
the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.

Arise, my love,
my fair one,
and come away.

~Song of Solomon 2:10-13

~~All Original Photographs Copyrighted~~
(c) March 2010 / By Janet Lyn / WriteOnRideOn
(and all photos for this story taken right in my own backyard)