August 22, 2019

Spring never arrives overnight

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One thing I have struggled with as an adult is keeping any regular calendar. Appointments end up on sticky notes, saved in voicemail or just kept in my memory, which usually, typically, for the most part, does not fail. There will be times I will make a conscious effort to become more organized in my planning and it might last for, at most, a month. (Don’t worry — I will try, try again.)

The idea of keeping time to that extent just never resonated with me, and I feel that it’s often the case that our modern-day, one-size-fits-all calendar fails to resonate like it should.

Case in point: New Year’s Day. There is always a big to-do about New Year’s resolutions, but how can one be expected to keep these when very little actually feels new about that time? It was winter on Dec. 31, and it is winter Jan. 1, and there is more winter to go than anyone cares to think about. Literally only the numbers change.

I remember staying up until midnight Dec. 31, 1999, waiting for 2000. What a monumental change, stepping from one millennium into another (so maybe that’s 2001, but hush, I’m the one telling the story). Being only 11, I decided it was a good idea to jump off something and be in midair when the clock changed. Nevertheless, it was all pretty underwhelming. Y2K was a flop and no grand change suddenly occurred with the tick of the clock.

If anything is a real “new year” around here, it is spring. And as we all know in Michigan, spring never comes overnight. It will start to come, definitely be here for a day, disappear completely, dither for a couple days, then maybe reappear — repeat process. It never happens how we think it should or how people say it should.

But at least with spring, you definitely know it’s coming, and you get a little spring fever. This should be the real time for New Year’s resolutions, because don’t we all feel a little more motivated in the springtime than in the dead of winter? House projects, gardens, trips and more can all be planned. Time to wipe surfaces down and make everything look a bit more fresh.

Spring will never suddenly arrive March 20, but the processes of growth and change are all working beneath the surface, gradually, patiently.

When we feel it should be easy enough for things to pop up and bloom overnight, remember that some growth takes time and care, and some dead surfaces challenge the way — like the hyacinth I just saw breaking through the middle of a dead leaf. Some processes are already underway in the dead of winter, when some seeds need periods of cold in order to take off.

Life generally doesn’t go by any set timeline, and we can’t force it into one. When we feel like it’s really, really time for something to change, as far as things out of our control, we just have to hang on and have faith. Things are working underneath the surface that we can’t possibly see right now. And the workings may not even be in our lives alone — no man is an island; we are intertwined. We cannot completely understand what is happening in another’s life. Our prayers may seemingly have no results, but you never know. We can be patient and kind in the process.

While today, especially as women, we are often bombarded with thoughts of “take time for you,” “you need this,” “you deserve this,” this cry often results in hollow and self-absorbed lives.

Yes, take personal responsibility; do not be defined by what has been done to you, and do not take responsibility where it is beyond you. Yes, take this moment, while other things are out of your control, to be everything you can be; take the time for personal growth. No matter what happens, this will be invaluable. Do not put off small joys when they come.

But I would also like to take this time to learn to love others more, to pray for them more, think of them more, be more patient and understanding. I would like to not only develop personally but work to be the person I will need to be for another.

Spring is already here and it may not feel like it at all, but “faith is the substance of things hoped for” — you can almost literally feel it coming. Yes, even though at times a blizzard may come and throw a massive wet blanket of discouragement on your hopes. I hope you find your spring fever, and resolve to get ready for the next step life has for you. I can’t wait to see what this summer brings me.

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