When Spring Comes Reluctantly

 

I’ve been working against a deadline.

On Monday I will have completed another year of life. 42 of them so far. Another circle around the sun. Another cycle of life. Another end. Another beginning.

It has not been lost on me that the day falls immediately after Easter this year. It did the same 11 years ago when I was cradling a week-old baby in Sunday services. How fresh a resurrection message falls on days like these.

Emerging from Darkness. New Life.  A Birth Day.

In preparation for such a day – especially against the backdrop of Lent – I could not help but think on the need for some dying in my life. On the giving up. The letting go.

What needed to die to make room for new life?
What was I not willing to carry forward into my 43rd year?
Where was my surrender less than everything?

I often do my best work against a deadline.

But the frost on budding trees tells me this. Sometimes Spring comes reluctantly.

It comes in fits and spurts. It comes in fully blooming pear trees outside the tightly closed windows where the furnace has turned back on. It comes in pollen-covered sidewalks traversed by coat-covered people.

Spring does not bow to a deadline. Awakening comes in its own time.

I, too, am coming reluctantly to the turning of a page. As glorious is the spring, the winter lingers still.

There is more dying to be done.

There will be celebration over the coming days. Family. Easter. Birthday.
There will be warm days and deep laughter and lots and lots of life.
There will be Spring.

But deep at the roots – where the darkness never eases – it is the breaking  open that lives on still.

There is no deadline on that.

for the promise of sweet breezes

I fight the survivor instinct that tells me to revive.

There is a time to die.

My four decades of doing things my way have brought me no closer to the prize – to the wideness of grace, to the deep well of peace, to the loftiness of lightness in my being.

It’s time to stop doing. And start dying.

Some things are a swift and merciful kill. So many others linger right on the edge. My will. My way. It gasps for breath and begs for salvation.

Oh, how it wants more time with me. But as my Jesus himself modeled, the only path to salvation is through death.

Spring is not as sweet without the winter.
New is meaningless if there never has been an old.
Resurrection never comes without first the dying.

And so it turns. Each tick of the clock marching back around to itself.
Circle after circle after circle.

Daily. Moment by moment. My will; my way; my striving; my doing.

It dies.

And from its decay blooms a more glorious way. Higher. Deeper. Wider than my striving could ever have imagined.

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Tightly still tucked upon itself.
The bud not ready to bloom.
I think for a moment I am her.
But, no, she is not yet me at all.

Go lower. Past the leaves. Down the stem. Under the surface.
Into the darkness.
I am not bloom, but seed.

Tightly still tucked upon itself.
Refusing to unfold.
Unwilling to die.

The breeze it carries a memory. Of sweet daisy blooms.
Into the soil it penetrates.
And the decaying seed – for the sake of a promise – releases just a bit of its skin.

The tiniest sip of living water expands me beyond today’s bindings.
There is no option but to crack.

To unfold.
For More.

To make room.
For Life.

Mile One (Brave Every Day Series)

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There is a long stretch of country road across Kentucky where the hills are many and the gas stations few. I’m only a minute or two headed west when I spot a marker. Mile 1.

Years of road trips have trained me to keep my eyes open for the passing numbers. A way to track progress towards an anticipated exit. A way of knowing where I am in the world.

So a few minutes later I glance to the side of the road again. Mile 1.

Yes. Again.

Over the course of the next hour or so I pass Mile 1 no less than 5 more times. While driving in a straight line.

I was confused at first.

Then annoyed. Then angry.

How could I be moving — and making absolutely no progress?

Starting over. And over. It’s pure exhaustion.

And then I heard the whisper.  “New every morning.”

What if Mile 1 was an invitation to start fresh? To wipe the slate clean? To wash off the dirt of the road behind me and move forward without baggage.

What if these signs aren’t meant as altars to my progress and are instead opportunities for grace? No matter how many times I have to start again at Mile 1?

What if I had the courage to keep driving, not knowing how many more Mile 1 markers I might face? Could I be Brave Every Day?

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This post is a Mile 1 of sorts. It’s been weeks since my last blog entry. And even that was a re-post. So months is a more accurate measure of my absence from writing. Not just publishing, but nearly all kinds of writing. Which, I have learned, is not a particularly healthy state of my soul.

Moving forward from Mile 1 — while knowing it’s extremely likely there is another Mile 1 in the future is an act of hope. Of faith. Of mustard seed faith. A small planting of courage that may just bloom into brave.

A little Brave. Every day.

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brave-squareIn response to the 31 Day blogging challenge, I will be publishing EVERY DAY in October — reporting on ways I reach out to bravery in my everyday life. (See all posts to date HERE.) To be alerted to new posts, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter using the links on the right side of this page. Or Subscribe to get posts sent to your Email.

PLEASE use the comment section to share your own thoughts, questions, or experiences of everyday bravery. It’s a road better traveled with friends.

For when the words write themselves. On me.

NE Cross“I go to prepare a place,” He said.

Sometimes that place is within driving distance.

A quiet retreat center near Omaha, in this case. The drive a three-day journey.

Each mile a wearing down of the callouses that had grown around me. Each passing exit an invitation to lay down another layer. The ones that had been added to my spirit so slowly and subtlety, I had no sense of how many it would take before the numbness wore off. Nor how exposed the long-neglected feels would become.

“Come away with me,” He whispered, “and let me show you the story of your life.”

The words wrapping around me in hugs. In song. In conversation. In scripture. In nature. In laughter. In tears. In silence.

Abundance. Peace. Blessing. Faithfulness. Grace.

A feast of words I was unaware of my hunger for.

Until I came open. Exposed. Turned inside out.

I went to a writer’s conference and didn’t write a thing.

For I was the canvas, not the pen.

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Linking this reflection of Small Wonder with my friend and fellow blogger, Kelly Chripczuk, who hosts a Community of blogging Beauty Hunters at her site. Because our Big God shows himself in the most amazing small ways.#smallwonder

Inside Out Light (#smallwonder)

Psalm764 Cindee Photography
photo by Cindee Snider Re, originally designed for #sundaycirclegroup, used with permission

Not once in my entire life have I considered myself “resplendent.” I doubt, in fact, I have described anything in that manner.

Radiant. Glowing.

On my wedding day, perhaps. Maybe the junior prom — my first real dress-up event.

Even there I speak of looking radiant. Feeling a glow.

But BEING resplendent?

The Psalmist tells God He is. Resplendent that is. More majestic than the mountains. (Psalm 76:4)

So as I reflect that I dwell with God but that He also dwells in me, I must consider that His qualities, too, live beneath my skin.

I could get a spray tan. Add glitter to my eye shadow. Wear a sequined dress.

But that would only make me shiny.

Resplendence, instead, rises slowly to the surface. It’s an inside out light.

The fullness of all the beauty of God Himself, fanned forever by the Holy Spirit.

In. Me.

Can you imagine?

I hope you can. Because it’s in you, too.

So let us ready our vessels. Let us welcome the rising. Let us be polished. Let us be resplendent.

Indeed, we already are.

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Linking this reflection of Small Wonder with my friend and fellow blogger, Kelly Chripczuk, who hosts a Community of blogging Beauty Hunters at her site. Because our Big God shows himself in the most amazing small ways. #smallwonder

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