On Renewing Hope

I sit on the porch on this early spring evening, darkness descending.  The wind blusters, crinkling the long-withered leaves unburied from their wintery prison, and I sigh.

It sounds like my soul, withered and crinkled in the weight of all my mistakes and missteps.

The sound whispers to me of the things I still wrestle with and the things I cannot undo, uncovered with the bluster of change.

Little Man excitedly calls from the side of the house.  “Mama, come! Come look!  The daffodils!  They are growing!”

Indeed they are.  In the midst of all the dead, there is life springing.

Sometimes that’s hard for me to see.

All I feel is the cold fingers of doubt whipping around my muddied soul, stuck here in this half-frozen limbo. I feel like I struggle with the same issues, the same insecurities, the same fears. The future looks barren in those moments.

I see the harsh word that dims my son’s eyes.

I see the errant text that didn’t care for the heart of the recipient.

I see the impotence of distance as Sunshine struggles under the weight of the responsibility she has chosen.

Failures and fears, like old, useless leaves, flitting around with no purpose.

But that’s not really true.

I go around the side of the house and I see the daffodils, blown too by the wind, but pushing onward. Fighting through the mud and the rotted leaves to stand and look for the sun that will surely come.

And I look at my son, his excitement soothing the cut of my earlier harshness. And I see hope.

Maybe this mud, this cold wind blowing at the things I must let go of in my soul, maybe these are the things that prepare me for growth. Maybe I need to get a different perspective. Maybe I need to stop focusing on the rotted leaves I still see lurking around and instead look expectantly for the sun to shine on something beautiful.  Maybe I should cultivate the things that are fighting to break through. Maybe I should look for the budding hope.

And so I will smile at Little Man and choose to joy in the person he is fighting to become.

I will text an apology to the dear one I frustrated and choose to delight in the things that are beginning to grow.

I will listen to Sunshine as she excitedly takes me on a Skype tour of her new apartment and choose to thrill at the way she optimistically takes on the world.

But for tonight, Little Man and I will admire the little buds as the wind whips frigidly against our backs.  And I will be reminded that my goal shouldn’t be to dispel the cold and the rotten leaves but to embrace the way they lead to new growth.

Spring always comes. We are never stuck in the mud, even if winter seems interminable. There is One who moves the planet through the seasons, caring for delicate daffodils and making things new. And it is the same One who moves even more carefully in the dirt and muck of my soul, so that I can see the delicate buds of change and grace and patience and joy emerging.

Today, I will choose to wait for the sun.

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