One thing we say here in Alabama is that if you’re unhappy with the weather hang around for five minutes and it will change. Our blizzard of 1993 happened towards the end of March when we’re accustomed to the signs of spring coming alive, not 2-3 feet of snow. (Yes, 2-3 feet of snow in the Deep South qualifies as a blizzard.) This spring has been a bit more cold than usual. Freeze warnings and cold, damp days were the norm here a lot longer than normal. Yet, finally it seems we are warming up!
Yesterday I was able to “plant my garden”, which for me is going to be a container garden so it is reachable for me from my wheelchair. Oh how lovely it was to get those young plants into new homes! The smell of the sweet basil, peppermint and lavender was intoxicating! The sturdiness of the bell pepper and tomato plants was encouraging! The sharpness of the leeks as I broke up the root ball was a reminder of wild onions being mown over by someone’s lawn mower. This year I added Snapdragons, Petunias and a Boston Fern to the mix. I’m already thinking of a few more plants I want to add. Perhaps parsley, garlic, rosemary and dill. Maybe a couple more tomato and bell pepper plants too.
Our deck looks full of life, new life. Perfect for spring.
I was amazed at the difference my four hour gardening made in my thought processes. Just being out in the fresh air and seeing signs of spring arriving a little more closely enveloped me in hope. Hope in spring seems absolutely perfect. Especially for a Christian.
Jesus went to Calvary and was crucified on the cross just after the Jewish celebration of Passover. This comes in spring. The hope that was born those three days arrived when Jesus defeated death and when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome took spices so that they might anoint Jesus’ body. The women discussed how they could possibly roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb so they could get inside as they went to Jesus’ borrowed tomb. Yet the Lord had already taken care of this need for them for the stone had been rolled away by the power of God. When the women reached the tomb male angels greeted them and in Luke 24:5 one of them asks Mary, Mary and Salome “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”*
The sweltering heat of summer gives light and warmth to the earth. The crispness of fall air is a reminder of the bounty of harvest. The chill and dormant activity of winter makes quiet the energy and bustle of growth. It is the spring that fulfills the promise of the other seasons, the beginning of new life, the birth of hope.
Often times I find my heart in winter regardless of the season outside my window. Then days occur like yesterday when I had my hands in soil, breaking up root balls of plants some for harvest and some for joy that I look for signs of life. I look to see what has been dormant, what has been waiting for the earth to warm so life can begin anew, what is now beginning to show fulfillment of that promise of new life. Oh to never forget the hope of spring!
My heart would be much lighter if I remembered the warmth of the spring sun, gentle and soothing. My mind would be more productive if I focused on new beginnings instead of endings. If I planted hope instead of grief. My spirit would soar instead of hibernating any longer.
Jesus offered us the perfect gift in springtime. His sacrifice gives us hope for this earth and a promise of eternity in His presence. Spring has sprung at last in Alabama and this Southern Steel Magnolia is mighty happy about this arrival, mighty happy indeed.
*For the Biblical accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection read Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24 and John 18-24.