The hooks beneath the stairs would tease and torment holding the lighter jackets and fleeces hostage while we continued to don the down and the wool and the hats and the scarves and the gloves. Carrying on with the still essential car warm up before our dash for the early morning high school drop off. Worse still, toes remained trapped, shod in socks and shoes and boots, ashamed of their naked nails devoid of color.
And while our winter thankfully wasn't nearly as harsh or snow filled as some previous winters have been (sorry all you snow loving skiers, but I'm just not a fan), you could still hear it in conversations with neighbors, friends, colleagues and in the check out line at the grocery store. People ready for spring. Ready for warmer temperatures. Ready for pots of cheerful pansies. Ready to open the sunroof on the car.
Maybe our calendar is a little off. First of all, since the school calendar has defined a 'year' for me since I was six years old, even though I'm not teaching in the classroom anymore, I still find more meaning in the new year of September than of January. Also, being the lover of all things Christmas that we are, our tree doesn't come down until well into the first month of the new year. Even now, the little plaster 'villages' that Don and I painted in our early BK (before kids) years, as well as one or two that Logan and Katrina's small fingers added toddler brush strokes to, are still gracing the mantle just because I enjoy them. January 1 is the middle of celebrating Christmas, not packing it all up to make meaningless resolutions that will be broken faster than fragile glass ornaments on a tree with curious kittens in the house. A new year in the middle of winter just doesn't work for me.
Ah, but spring. Spring feels like something new is definitely beginning. Spring brings tangible fulfillment of hope. The hope that is harbored throughout the mornings of the alarm mercilessly yanking me from my snug bed at o'dark thirty. The hope that whispers of warmth working on her return. The hope that the bulbs dormant beneath the dull, brown earth or the icy layers of snow or slush will indeed gift us with crocus and daffodils and tulips once again. Hope that is joyously ushered in when Christmas is completed by Easter.
When we know that if Jesus could conquer death, then He can handle anything else that a day may bring.
It's the no easy answers hope that we cling to when a prominent pastor's son tragically takes his own life.
When a nephew's esteemed teacher does the same.
And the friend of a former student.
And the brother of a faithful churchgoer, who ran out of hope at the same time she was singing with a heart full of it.
When the memories from a summer long ago rush back so vividly, the mocking voices could threaten to derail faith and trust in one fell swoop. Except that hope cries out louder and clearer and stronger.
Hope that rings true because of God's faithfulness.
Spring brings the eternal truth of hope. Shakes off the cold grip of winter and sends the fresh breezes of God's unchanging presence and the promise that He works even when the broken world around us doesn't. Shatters the darkness of daily soil by pushing the brightness of white and yellow and purple through to stand tall once again. Shows that every new morning is a gift of grace and mercy.
What an amazing way to ring in a new year.
Lamentations 3:21 - 23
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness O God.