Making it Through to the Other Side

My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away;
 for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom;

they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. “

– Song of Solomon 2:10-13

We did it! We survived! We made it through. We refused to be defeated or crushed or to surrender to despair or to dismay or to our creeping dystopian fears.

Nope – I am not talking about the Covid-19 pandemic. Although it looks like we might make it through that too. I just checked the Team Kentucky website and Jefferson County, Kentucky is still in the green zone! Woo-Hoo and Hallelujah!

(Yes – I know some folks assert we shouldn’t say hallelujah during Lent. Some folks even ritually bury their hallelujahs on the Sunday before Lent. I politely disagree – especially when the news is this gloriously AWESOME!   So I will say it again – Woo-Hoo and HALLELUJAH!)

Anyway – back to my original point (before I got distracted by the wanderings of my own mind . . .) – we endured. We withstood. We triumphed. We outlasted another long – dark – miserable – cruel – night of the soul. I mean – winter.   Yep – I mean – winter.   We did it!   We survived another winter. And I think that deserves a Woo-Hoo and HALLELUJAH too!

The only things I personally look forward to about winter are:   celebrating the birth of our sweet William who was born on the 1st day of winter – Christmas – and wearing my hand knit scarves. But I would gladly skip the scarves and just knit wash cloths and towels if it meant I could skip months and months of winter weather and winter darkness! The rest of my favorite parts of winter can be covered in less than 1 week . . . I would gleefully and gladly vote for a winter of 7 to 14 days – but clearly NO ONE asked me!

Winter is just so cold and gray and brown and COLD and lacking in sunlight. I am big on sunshine and heat and COLOR. Basically- winter is my kryptonite. Not that Superman and I have a lot in common . . . Wouldn’t that be cool – but that’s a blog post for a different day!?!?!?!

Spring – oh how I love spring. (And I love summer even more. SUMMER rocks like a rock star!)

And spring is here. Spring has arrived. Yes – I do know it is technically winter until Sunday, March 20th.   What I am talking about is the return of LIGHT and LIFE and WARMTH and COLOR to the world in which we dwell.

I am talking about the world reawakening and coming out of hibernation.

If I close my eyes I can hear spring. The birds are returning and bringing with them their noisy chatter.   Jason and I heard and then spotted a pair of woodpeckers this morning during our mid-morning walk. We also heard and then spotted a pair of ducks!   Very exciting indeed!

I also hear Will playing with his best buddies. Suddenly the trampoline in our backyard is popular again and so are the swings and the shed full of toys and tools. Their laughter and their shouts and their chattering chatter carries through the evening air. I love the sound of kids playing outside. I am especially fond of the sound of my kid playing outside!

I see signs of spring everywhere I turn. Spring is such a feast for the senses – but especially for the eyes.

I am seeing neighbors I haven’t seen in months. Jason and I are hardcore walkers. We walk almost every single day. We walk because walking is part of who we are. We ARE walkers. We are compelled to be outside. We walk because being inside all of the time makes our souls start to shrivel up and die! (I will absolutely be that 3,000 year old lady at the nursing home driving the nursing staff crazy trying to escape . . .   We all know I will NOT just behave myself and stay in my room watching The Price is Right!)

Escape is this way . . .

But we have neighbors who only go for walks in these first few weeks of spring. We will see them almost every evening for a few weeks on these first gorgeous spring evenings – but once Kentucky turns up the heat of summer – they will retreat inside until next spring!   The calls of the internet and the television are strong indeed . . .

And I am seeing the first spring flowers. Oh how I love daffodils. Those first – brave – bright yellow – glorious messengers of spring!   I have this urge to thank daffodils for being such faithful – devoted – resolute messengers of good news.   Daffodils put up with a lot that would simply crush other flowers. Snow – frost – SNOW – ice – drizzle – and all that early March in Kentucky can throw at them and still they endure and look so gorgeous doing it!

Trees are budding. And I am starting to notice the glorious green haze trees get right before their leaves burst forth. I love that green haze. I could (and DO) gaze at that neon green haze for hour upon hour.

(I am a cheap date . . . tacos from the taco truck at the corner of Watterson Trail and Bardstown Road or from Supermercado Guanajuato on Bardstown Road and a walk so I can see budding trees.   If you splurge and get the jamaica [the “j” is pronounced as an “h”] I am in heaven!   Seriously – this is what heaven must be like!)

I pulled my first pile of weeds this week. And I got a kick out of that too. I enjoy weeding and delight in working outside in my flowerbeds.

We need to spread mulch – so right now the weeds think they might just win this year. The weeds don’t know Jason and I have already planned to order 10 cubic yards of mulch again this year. We take mulching VERY seriously at the McFarland house and consider it a right of passage to spread THICK layers of mulch on our flowerbeds. No wimpy layers of mulch at our house. No wasting our time with a light scattering.   Mulch isn’t for decoration or ornamentation around here. Mulch works at my house. Mulch has a full-time job here. Soon the weeds will suffocate under 5 or 6 inches of dark – natural – hardwood bark mulch while our flowers smugly thrive.

I spotted slugs this morning too. They were making their slow – methodical way someplace important and I wished them well as long as they stayed away from MY garden and MY flowerbeds!

Spring is here! We did it!   We made it through winter to the other side. My soul rejoices and my heart sings with happiness. I just can’t seem to get enough of all of this glorious springy spring-ness!

Everywhere I turn I see another reminder of God’s presence in the world. Another reminder of God’s activity. Of our Lord’s creativity.   I am dazzled and amazed and in awe.

Where are you seeing God’s presence these days? What is God up to in your life?

In Christ and with Love –

Pastor Kerri

Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.

I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

– Isaiah 43:18-19

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