Monday, March 19, 2007

Squinting to See the Sun
Last Wednesday I went for a walk. It took me an hour and a half, and by the end of it I wished I had been wearing shorts. The ground was having a little trouble deciding whether it was liquid or solid. The trickle of water which usually runs along the far side of our driveway had become a torrent warranting the designation of "brook." Also, it sounded as if all the birds in the county had gathered there and were warbling and chortling their hearts out. I felt just about as happy.

I was less happy about the same walk in January when we hadn't had any snow yet. The birds were, too, I think, because it felt like April, but there was definitely no chortling going on. But now we've had the requisite hard freeze and snowstorms, and so 70-degree weather made me feel like skipping and flailing my arms around (which is what I used to do as a child whenever I felt particularly jubilant).

Of course, it snowed again two days later, and the snow was so heavy that everyone's going around talking about how sore they are from shoveling and how we wish spring would come, even though we have to confess that we had a relatively easy winter. (Except for Valentine's Day. That snowstorm traumatised me for life, I think.)

I like that Lent straddles winter and spring. Everything's cold and dark and ashen, and a little disappointing. You hope to goodness that you don't have to resign yourself to this. You hope winter's going to end. I feel like I've been in suspense about a lot of things lately--or in some cases my whole life: wondering if I'll ever get married, wondering when my friends will love Jesus and let Him love them back, wondering when I'll have more of His attitude, wondering if I'll ever be able to afford a house of my own. And then the news comes that I'm getting a book published. And then we have a 70-degree day in the middle of snowstorms. And then after the snowstorms the sun comes out and the icicles start crashing off the roof. And then I remember that Resurrection Day is coming.

But like I implied in January and on Pancake Day, I don't think I'd notice the sunrise and the warmth if it hadn't been a little dark, first. I don't think I would know I needed to hope if everything had been flawlessly beautiful to begin with. And I don't think I'd feel like chortling or singing or flailing my arms around if I hadn't first felt I was dying.

9 comments:

Annelise said...

Nice blog, Jenn. Speaking of weather, we've had snow showers, rain, sun, black clouds all day today and yesterday. Irish weather never seems to be able to figure out what it wants to do.

GreekGeek said...

Good to hear Ireland was experiencing the same weather as Scotland! Thanks for the reminder that the sun does come back, and that contrasts can be seen in a grateful light. I have enough of a pessimistic personality that sometimes I am utterly convinced that hope will not, cannot return, even though I know theologically speaking it will -- I just am convinced that it will skip over me. So I appreciated getting a glimpse of your heart too! =]

A Musing Mom said...

Jenn-noticed your mention of the book publishing gig in your comment on Craver's blog and came over to say congratulations (I missed your first mention of it). Way to go! There's nothing like a printed-on-paper contract to make something like that feel real and all the dreary wetness and cold to begin feeling like more of a dream (oh wait, not that I know that personally myself, just surmising).

L.L. Barkat said...

I was thinking this today about shadows. When I sit outside and watch the snow, it is more beautiful when the light comes to cast shadows across it. But the difference would not be evident had the sun not first been behind a cloud.

Jenn said...

Mom--that sounds sort of familiar . . .

Mariam--I pretty much hate hope most of the time. It usually feels so self-defeating. I think it just caught me on a good week, so I had to write about it!

Thanks, AMM!

LL--I've observed that, too. The implications of such thoughts are enough to make one wonder for a while.

revjas said...

You "hate hope most of the time," Jenn?? I think you mean you dread re-living the pain of "getting your hopes up", only to have them dashed. Like Miriam, a lot of us tend to shelter from the agony of disappointment under an umbrella of pessimism. But it's good to peer out from under our artificial sky once in a while to see if the sun is actually shining.

The sun has indeed come out today in Ireland, and (as you say) it feels wonderful after all the dark, damp, cold days. A good reminder (as you say) of the inevitability of an eventual and eternal spring -- a different kind of "Hope."

(Speaking of disappointment, there's an interesting webcast at http://www.cometothebrook.org/ -- an interview with Pete Greig, the author of a new book on unanswered prayer, entitled 'God on Mute.' Click on 'Faith Conversation of the Week.' The book apparently includes "15 reasons for unanswered prayer." They're not all in the interview(!) but I thought it was worth a listen.)

Jenn said...

Dad--I guess that is MOSTLY what I mean. Or maybe I mean hope makes me feel really really mad a lot of the time. An emotion I frequently get mixed up with hate. Thanks for the reminders and the book/link recommendations.

GreekGeek said...

Jenn -- I hear you. =} I guess for me it's really that I desperately want my hopes to be proven right, true, worthwhile, and as time keeps ticking by I suppose I am uncertain how to live with unanswered hopes. And so I revel in the times that it all really does seem possible (like taking long walks in the sunshine and dancing and singing to myself and God), and live in some sort of tension between wanting to hope and wanting to trust God on the one hand, and fear and disappointment and (gasp) bitterness on the other. I don't want to be the latter, though, so I keep on crawling toward the former. As Dr. Klein once said, "living sacrifices have a tendency to keep crawling off the altar," but sometimes I feel as though its the opposite... Thanks too from me to "revjas" (your dad?) for his comments and suggestions. =]

See - I knew there was a reason you came to Denver - I needed your friendship! =]

Jenn said...

Mariam--and clearly I needed yours. Thanks, friend.

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