"Where man sees but withered leaves,
God sees sweet flowers growing."
For Christians, this time of year brings with it the joy, hope and promise of the Resurrection. Yesterday I participated in a world-class rejoicing of the Easter message. It was pretty awesome. I also witnessed some miracles going on in church during the Maunday Thursday service commemorating Christ's last supper. I had just learned that a dear church/family dear had passed away. My heart was heavy, my face streaked with tears. I sat in the pew, but didn't feel like being a part of the service. I chose prayer and silence as my form of participation. In my stillness I became aware of little "rebirth" miracles taking place around me.
- Several women prayed with/for/over people at the altar. I watched as one of the pray-ers gently rubbed the back and shoulders of the person who was kneeling. I soon realized that her touch was as much a prayer as the words being spoken. I didn't see auras, or doves descending. But I knew I was witnessing a re-awakening of Divine peace.
- I saw one woman holding a pitcher of water which would be used in the traditional "foot washing" service. Nothing more than holding some water, but in that moment, I saw her servant's heart re-born.
- I saw love re-newed in a smile between mother and daughter.
- I saw joy re-newed in an embrace between friends.
- I saw grace re-newed as the priest anointed his own mother with oil.
- I heard holiness re-newed in the sound of a crying baby, for babies, I believe, are God's way of saying the world will continue to be reborn.
- And I felt my grief replaced by gratitude knowing Shirley had joined the band of angels that had once worshipped at our church. I smiled to think of Mom & Dad and many other friends welcoming Shirley home.
While we celebrate the empty tomb, with bells and whistles, bonnets and baskets, and colored eggs and commerical hype, I believe Resurrection miracles don't just happen at this time of year. I think it happens all the time, we just don't pay them as much attention.
I think Springtime rebirth, renewal, and reawakening are synonymous with the miracle of the resurrection. For plants, animals, and people. The fact that colorful Spring flowers make their way up through winter's frozen ground to dance in the sunshine is miraculous to me. And what about the resurrection of bushes and trees and shrubs trading in their brown, lifeless branches for new green leaves. It is as if the Divine Artist dipped His brush into green paint and flicked it, sending green splatter all over the world.
When I walked through the mall over the weekend, I couldn't help notice the bright Spring colors on dresses and shirts. The same girl who loves getting the LLBean catalog in the fall was drawn to the reds and oranges and purples that appear to be this year's color palette. The girl who pictures herself in plaid flannel shirts, corduroy slacks and mucklucks found herself trying on eyelet peasant blouses, capri pants and sandals. It's like this every year. My personality seems to switch gears. My indoor-loving hermit persona goes dormant and the girl who likes to play-in-the-dirt and dance in the rain is reborn.
Johnson pointed out a miracle to me the other day that was almost right under my nose. What looked like a big ol' passel of moss hanging out of the Ligustrum tree by my kitchen window is really a Cardinal nest. It's like having my own National Geographic show. Johnson, who rescued baby birds when he was about 10 years old and fed them baby food and water from an eye dropper a round the clock says he talks to the whole bird family - mama, papa and 3 little babies. From my vantage point at the window, I can see when the parents fly to the nest with food. As soon as they get close little beaks open up and say "me first, me first!" Every time I watch the devoted parents fly back from feeder to feedees I am reminded of the miracle of life. That babies are born so fragile and helpless and parents, of every species, do everything in their power, with little thought for their own needs, to nurture their offspring so they will grow.
Who could doubt that miracles happen when they hear that Baby Lucy's heart is working? She's off the ventilator and breathing on her own. Most of the tubes connecting her to artificial means of support are gone. Or that Dona Rosa, who suffered several heart attacks last month is not only out of the hospital and finished with rehab to build up her strength, she's back in her own home. Did I mention she will be 103 years old in a couple of weeks?
I would be hard-pressed to say Spring is my favorite season. As long as the temperatures are not extreme, I like them all. What I'd like to be able to do is take the everything old is new again lessons of Spring, and apply them to each and every day. Every morning, when we wake up and begin a new day, the Easter message tells us that miracles abound.
May you see the miracles all around you,