Whoever first realized that the seasons can sway our moods is a very bright person. Our feelings and emotions are things that we can’t control. They fall victim to external forces at play around us. A rainy, gloomy day can leave me feeling melancholy and blue. A bright, warm, spring morning can make me feel upbeat and happy, ready to life to the fullest.
I know this truth very well. While Bekah and I lived for about two years in Chile we did a lot of travel back and forth between here and there. It just so happened that a large part of our travel since Silas, our son, died also coincided with seasonal changes, which, since Chile is in the southern hemisphere, are completely opposite.
Silas died in November so we came to the US for winter. We decided to go back to Chile in February, just in time for Chilean winter. Bekah became pregnant with Benji, and we decided to come home for his birth. She came back in July. I came back in September, just in time for yet another winter.
So for the past two years I’ve experienced nothing but winter. Yes there were weeks of overlap where I had hints of summer, spring, or fall, but the vast majority has been dark, barren winter.
Both climatologically and emotionally.
Grief is hard to pass through in any situation. When that grief is over the loss of a child and takes place in an unending winter, the mind, heart, and emotions struggle to survive.
Just as my surroundings have had moments of summer, I have had glimmers of hope over the past two years of winters, but I’ve struggled to stay there. I’ve struggled to allow the happiness and joy to remain.
All that changed as we began to see spring arrive this year. This is the first time in two years I’ve seen trees with blooms. The first time in two years I’ve seen new grass begin to grow. The first time in two years that I’ve seen nests with new hatchlings, and heard the songbirds’ chorus.
Life is exploding around me. I’ve gone from two years of winters, living in the driest desert in the world, to the vibrant and colorful southern spring. And it’s a healing experience.
It makes me realize the wisdom of the early church when they decided to establish lent and Easter as spring-time holidays (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). In advent and Christmas we remember that there is hope and light even on the darkest nights of the year, but in Easter that hope becomes a reality. The whole world is exploding with new life, with new creation, and it reminds us of that time when the crushing death of Good Friday was defeated and Jesus rose, giving us all hope that the death in our lives will someday, somehow give way to new life. The Easter message isn’t only proclaimed in words this time of year; we see all around us.
So maybe I’m slowly letting myself believe those hopeful words again, that in Christ we will overcome death. One day the winter will give way to spring, the dead fields and trees will be overtaken with new foliage and flowers. Animals that had been hibernating will awaken from their slumber, and new birth will be all around us. At that time, our world, once ruled by death, will know nothing but life, and life to the fullest.
Spring awakens a hope within me; Easter reminds me of what that hope is.