In full bloom: a season of growth and change

Every year, it happens. Every year, usually the end of March, it seems impossible. Spring shows up in all of its hyperactive glory! What a wondrous thing!!

A hydrangea bush, which 2 weeks ago was timidly peeping through the mulch, today has burst through the supportive wire frame and is working at setting buds and sprouting new branches. Though it’s chilly today, the pollen count and fresh growth in my garden tells me that spring is definitely here.

There’s lots of change ahead for our family. The Johnnie is about to graduate. Reedy Girl will soon head to college and become our second Johnnie. I am taking two courses between now and the end of July, one on-line and one at a conference, and continuing my per diem chaplain work. (And, Lord willing, a job interview…) Bearded Brewer has new assignments and challenges at work. We will have a summer of change, moving, packing, shopping, new jobs… and it will require a lot of flexibility and patience with one another. (I tell myself this because the carefully orchestrated life of the public schools will be gone, and in its place, four busy adults, 2 young and 2 not-so-young, will take its place.)

Change is wonderful. Change is exciting. Change can also be… terrifying, inconvenient and unfamiliar.

If I take each day in this season and enjoy its newness and delight, there is much to be excited about. Consider this photo of our crabapple tree in the front yard, bursting with loveliness:

Crabapple tree at its peak.
Crabapple tree at its peak.

Just a few short weeks ago, it looked like this:


Even as the petals fell off, I enjoyed the final kiss of blossoms on our sidewalk:


In all three, there is a burst of beauty that lasts only for a moment. And in our lives, there is much of the same.

Recently, when I held the hand of a patient, she asked me to pray that she would “love life as long as I’m living it, and show my love to my family every moment.” She, who has multiple health challenges, some of them life-threatening or at least “life-limiting,” had a joyous perspective and understanding of the fleeting beauty of life around us.

I too often take it for granted. So this afternoon, as I watched the rabbits trim down the dandelions, and the squirrels chase each other around the oak tree trunk, as I listened to the cardinals and wrens singing and watched the hesitation of the hummingbird as she came to the nectar feeder, I wrote this prayer of thank you’s…

For trees with new leaves
And hummingbirds whispering by
For crabapple blossoms carpeting my sidewalk
And maple blossoms twirling in the air.
For bird song and blossom,
Tree, root, leaf and flower
In every moment,
In every hour,
May I not forget to say
Again and again,
“Thank you, Lord.”

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