Cohen is finally stopped stirring after we read his ‘night night’ book and a couple of favorite Bible stories (illustrated toddler Bibles are amazing, btw). I had to run outside to get some work from my car and somehow the romance of the night caught me. I left the work on the table and headed to the front porch with a hot cup of pomegranate tea, a comfy pillow and a sweatshirt. The sweatshirt isn’t necessary- somehow on this delicious almost-Spring evening in Ohio its warmer than the inside of my house. I left the door open so I could hear if my little man climbs out of bed (a first for this week, along with the less charming first of taking off his diaper to squat and make some ‘pooies’ on his bedroom floor) and also in hopes that the smell of newness will waft inside.
Every year around this time, I have a moment when I fall in love with the muted colors of this pause before everything bursts into bloom. The wheat fields are dried out and left bearing the look of sun bleached hay, the new green of grass is mixed with the deadness of what suffocated under months of ice and snow, gives the impression of muted shades of olive, and the sky… the SKY!…the sky is varying shades of slate blue and gray. It feels stormy and dark and then in other spots, light and billowy. The collision of those colors, with the stark black outlines of the trees against it, always manages to take my breath away.
And then, being the practical person I am, I always try to remind myself they’d make a nice palate for painting the inside of a house. I’ve taken photos, but nothing quite captures it. So I am sure my description falls far short…perhaps next year around this time I will just have to invite all of you to take a little trip to the midwest to experience our muted almost-Spring sky. I don’t know that I will still be living in this big, ole house but since my Aunt owns it, I bet we could still set up lawn chairs facing the back 4 acres of overgrown fields and just drink in the sweetness of the scene and the smell and the songbirds… you game?
I can’t tell you how I needed the peace of this evening right down to the slight breeze thats rustling the strands of hair I can never seem to keep in a ponytail. I left work at 5p with the most anxious I-Just-Want-To-Scream-Feeling ready to erupt inside me. I just felt antsy.. don’t know if any of you ever have that feeling like you just want to crawl out of your skin? Well, those of you who do, know exactly what I mean and the rest of you, well, I am not sure I can describe it well enough for you to feel it. You’ll just have to take my word that its not a desirable sensation.
The day started off really well. Co and I slept in a little more than usual…it was a planned day off for me, but we had plans. My sweet cousin and his wife had invited us (me, Co, Joe and Josh) to go to the Hospital where my cousin works to meet Jack Hanna and see lots of wild animals. I kept showing Co pis of animals and telling him the names, but I am pretty sure he had no idea where we were going when we departed the house at 8a. He was happy to see the ‘guys’ (as he calls them) though so he didn’t make much fuss about the long car ride to Columbus. The show was open to a small number of people and Co got to touch an albino python, an armadillo, and a baby kangaroo. Cohen was most excited about the giant exotic blue parrot and kept saying “mommy! Mommy! WOW! WOAH!” with lots of enthusiasm and the widest blue eyes you’ve ever seen. We grabbed pizza afterwards and visited with the fam. I got a call that I needed to head into work for a few hours, so I left the boys with Aunt Deb and went in.
Work was fine. My coworkers are lovely. I got some things done. I got to wear jeans since I hadn’t planned on coming in. The boys were well behaved at the pizza place. Co made the trip with lots of smiles and only one mini-tantrum. All in all it was a very good day. So where did the anxiety come from? the dampened spirit? I guess it doesn’t really matter exactly where…you know?
The simple fact is I let on old wound derail my spirit.
I think for years I was in a state of derailment. I suppose some would call that ‘depression’ and maybe in a clinical sense of things, that’s what it was. But I think spiritually, derailed in the perfect word. Though I loved God and though I continued to read and tried to pray, I was just plum run off course by life. Looking back on those days, I sometimes wonder how I didn’t see this or that…but then I think about the fog that was enveloping me and I know I couldn’t even see my own hand had it been in front of my face. Somewhere along the way, I had let the circumstances of life swirl around me like a tornado… and I was caught up in them.
I took my eyes off of Jesus.
This Ohio winter has been like the last year of my life… cold and dreary and slippery in spots. But all the while, even in the coldest dreariest most slippery moments, I sensed that Spring was coming. I would have one of those warm Ohio days that surprisingly plants itself right in the middle of the blistering cold and reminds you that not long from now new shoots will be popping up out of the ground and leaves will return and the birds again will sing. Those days are a lifeline when Winter feels never-ending, as it does sometimes in the midwest….as it sometimes does in life.
Tonight when I got home, Cohen and I sang ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and we prayed and I am telling you, there is nothing quite like the sweet incoherent melody of a toddler when the name of Jesus makes an appearance. Co closes his eyes now when I pray for him and claps and kisses me on the lips (only when my eyes are closed too). We snuggled and read and look at the pictures from today’s outing and the little hurts and disappointments of the morning melted away into this glorious evening. I came out here and as I typed about the colors of the grass and the variation of the sky at dusk while the sun faded into the moody horizon, My Beloved whispered a ray of hope and clarity into my heart.
So on this evening when Jesus seems so near, I want to say I am thankful for the stormy winters of my life, the sweet silver lining that is my blue eyed, curly headed Cohen Reid, the clarity to see when an old hurt tries to take me out of the race, the measure of faith God has gifted me to believe that He Sees and has Not Forgotten, and the quite certain feeling I have the Spring is just about to come bounding into our lives.
1 “Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
2 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
3 Let us acknowledge the LORD;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”
I’m on the other side of something
I’m on the other side of something
I have a new hope that blows away
The small hopes I knew before
And at the end of the day I am yours
And I am compelled
You’ve written on my very heart
Where no man can legislate
The law of your love has taken hold
With your holiness and grace
There’s no mistake
I’m on the other side of something
I’m coming out the other side, the other side
(Sara Groves, “Compelled”)