I like hope.
The real kind.
The kind that gives comfort during these uneasy times of politicians shouting crazy. The kind that helps me hang on when I see another bombing in a far away city, or one even closer to home. The kind that soothes my mama heart when some of my kids live too far from me and I ache for them.
I like hope. I need hope.
Spring arrives next week (on the calendar) and if there is one word that spring screams, it’s HOPE. The hope of new life peeking out of the dirt that I carefully put to bed in October when I started settling the farm down for a winter nap.
I walk around the house and am thrilled to see my old friends made it through the cold days of months past. I stupidly smile at them, “Well, there’s my sedum and astilbe-you’ll be standing tall in no time.” “There you are acronites, you are always on time!” “Hello, hostas-you are going to get thinned next month.” “Monkey grass! Can you just stop it, please?”
Their return gives me comfort that there is something familiar in my world that I can depend on.
The routines of spring that might look like labor to some are rites of comfort to me. Armed with a gloves, rake and wheelbarrow I assess the damage to the yard.Huge divots dug into the sod as my hub pushed 32 inches of snow off the parking pad in front of the barn-I step them back into place. There is the winter accumulation of animal bones, dragged from our woods by the dog for an after meal treat. (I don’t want to touch the spine of the deer completely intact, but I am woman – hear me roar.) Bending over and over again for the big sticks and raking the small ones makes me feel hopeful for the months ahead as my farm is set to right.
There are new shrubs to be put out next month. Porches to be power washed after the pollen is gone. The porch columns, furniture and pasture fences need to be repainted this year. The list grows daily.
These spring rituals are more than rites of passage of the season, they are deposits of hope into my soul. I know what comes next-the burst of spring grass growth that needs weekly attention till the summer dry period. Strawberries, followed by squash and okra and finally corn and tomatoes will be filling my kitchen.
It all starts with the hope that spring brings.
Last week, I was back in Georgia for a few days. My sister, Kim and I were driving to meet our folks for lunch and we turned onto a road that was full of new spring growth. Tulip trees and red buds were lining the road and the most delicious scent came in through the windows of her car. I said, “I wonder what that smell is?” We looked at each other and at the same time said, “Spring!”
Nature is like that, isn’t it? We can count on creation to soothe, to call us back to the Creator-our most reliable source of hope.
“But I will hope continually and will praise you yet, more and more.” Psalm 71:14
“For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.” Psalm 71:5
“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” Psalm 146:5
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12
“May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
That’s real hope.