She lives yet…

I have been absent without excuse for months now. It’s unforgivable, I know. It’s just I’ve had nothing to say—nothing worthwhile anyway—and in a world crammed full of information and activity, cyber-traffic and constant noise, I just needed some quiet. I thought you might need the same.

If life goes in seasons, it has been winter for me.

There are times when you feel the thrill and excitement of spring; new buds bursting their way out of the winter barrenness, bright flowers shooting skywards to catch the returning sun. This has not been one of those times.

There are times you feel the celebration of colour and the ripe abundance of fruit, the reward for your hard labour and a time for feasting, sharing and giving generously. This has not been one of those seasons either.

There are times you feel the changing moods from deep greens to crisp reds and yellows and down into lifeless browns, the falling off of things no longer needed and the last minute rush to store away for the coming months of lack. I’ve not been here either.

This has been a season of loss. A time when things I thought were important have shrivelled up and fallen away. The landscape has been barren and I’ve had to live off of last season’s stores. I have discovered there are things I thought were true, but are not. People I thought I could trust, whom I could not. A way things were, that they are not. The big pop you heard followed by a heart-aching silence was the sound of the bubble bursting. It hurt. It really, really hurt…for a while.

At the beginning of the year, I asked God what kind of year it was going to be. He’s told me most years, and it usually turns out the way He says. Last year he said it would be a year of hope and we have friends back who we thought we’d farewelled forever and the precious beginnings of little people who now gurgle and coo their way into our hearts with increasing ferocity. This year I was expecting something good, better than good, something great…but He said it was going to be a year of loss. I thought I’d heard wrong. I hadn’t.

There have been lost loved ones, and our hearts grieve. There have been lost opportunities, though I regret to inform, no loss of weight! But there are things we can afford to lose as well—illusions, misconceptions, idealistic fantasies. A good dose of reality can go a long way to setting you up for the good that has yet to arrive in your life. It makes you think about what you really believe, what you really want, and who you really are…and a barren winter with fruitless branches and long, cold nights set you up for the glorious celebration that arrives in the spring…for the bursting bloom of colour on the branch, the trill of birds dancing in awakening delight, the new shoots of life bursting through the cold soil to feel the kiss of sunshine and the pink snow of blossoms twirling lazily on a spring breeze.

The Psalmist was right. Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

…and if you’re still reading this, thank you! May morning take you by surprise and may you be kissed by heaven’s grace.