hopes for spring

My words have been so weighty lately - maybe the winter, maybe the sickness that never ends, maybe the time to ruminate. It's very much needed, given that writing helps me to work out my salvation ("through fear and trembling" sometimes!) and hear God more clearly. But the days are slowly, slowly getting longer and the shadows in my backyard are shifting a little bit. A cool front may have blown through this weekend, but my sights are set on spring. Our trees are fuller, dead grass is brightening into green, I can smell orange blossoms from almost anywhere in town. Allergies aside, I love this part of living in rural Central Florida -- the orange blossoms, the jasmine...it smells like the south ought to and I LOVE it. Though I've been glad to unload some of my heavier thoughts and feelings throughout this winter, I've also got some metaphorical spring cleaning to do. I want to open up the shutters of my never-ending thinking so I can clean out the unnecessary clutter. I imagine the figurative dusting off of crowded corners and the March breeze curiously whistling through the wintery curtains of thought. Perhaps I can truly lay down some of the self-imposted burden of solving it all and open up my hands more freely.

I have never walked a tightrope and I've stumbled off the slack line my cousin ties up between the trees at family gatherings. But I know this much: you can't walk that rope successfully with arms tight and tense and stuck to your side. To have any leverage at all, to stand a chance of balancing on that tense line, your body literally must open up. Arms wide, head up, core strong. It's not an easy task and the fearful misappropriate their strength and utterly fall.

hopes-for-spring-tension.jpg

I know living is crammed with tension. But "earth's crammed with heaven", as the poet said, "and every common bush afire with God. But only he who sees takes off his shoes. The rest sit around and pluck blackberries." [1]

I'm terribly afraid I might end up just plucking blackberries and staring inward until my self-aborption blinds me to the fire of God.

Spring cleaning and spirit rest and eyes outward. (SO tempted to be all "clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose". Coach Taylor, anyone?)

So I'm starting small. A coral candle I picked up on sale this week, a cold-pressed green juice instead of coffee, pushing the actual desk clutter to the side. My spring retreat is coming up and I'm jotting down ideas of rest for those days. (I try to take a personal retreat 2-3x a year; it's SO helpful and restful for my heart. I wrote an open letter about it here.). I'm drinking more water and diffusing peppermint in the kitchen. I'm remembering that it's okay to love writing and reading and what's good for mama is good for the family.

This spring I hope to take more walks, to listen more closely to my daughter, to surprise my husband with time away (babe, if you're reading, forget I said that), and to watch my son take more steps. I will photograph my kids more frequently. I hope to secure a more peaceful day with less phone time and more book time. Going analog, and all that.

My hopes for spring aren't massive or even all that ground-breaking. But small steps towards what I hope will be lighter living in the unavoidable tension, attentive parenting in the noise of imaginative littles, crafting more fun in my marriage, clearing out space in my mind so that I can live from a deeper place than all the fuss of feelings and thoughts...

So I kneelAt the bright edge of the gardenAt the golden edge of dawnAt the glowing edge of springWhen the winter's edge is goneAnd I can see the color greenI can hear the sower's song

Abide in meLet these branches bear You fruitAbide in me, LordLet Your word take rootRemove in meThe branch that bears no fruitAnd move in me, LordAs I abide in You

The Sower's Song, by Andrew Peterson [2]