It’s the dead of winter. Seriously. DEAD. Everything around me seems to be dead, lacking in color, lacking in spirit, just… blah. Two weekends ago we had this glorious breakthrough in weather. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, it was actually “warm” outside. I picked up my spade headed to the backyard, and began to dig. I was a digging fool. I dug up the liriope, divided it, and spread it out around the rest of the yard. We made plans to build a new bed, which I promptly dug up a trench marking the area out. It was glorious. I was filthy. But it was wonderful. Now it would grow!!!
Fast forward a bit. The weather lately has been MISERABLE. Cold, grey, rainy… just blah. Death. again. I find myself pouring over beautiful pictures in the seed catalogs, over pictures I took last year of the garden in the height of growing season. I want this winter, this death, to be over with. I am SO ready for things to be back the way they were.
And it’s not just the weather. Last year was probably the best year medically for me. I wasn’t pregnant (three babes in 4 years, I was pregnant most of that time). I was relatively sane (depending on your definition of sanity), and I just felt… I dunno… great! And this winter… I feel like crud. I could spend a lot of time and energy writing out what’s going on, but I can just sum it up by saying, it just really, REALLY sucks. I want to go back to last summer… back to the way things were. Back to that high moment when I felt marvelous and that all was right in the world.
And then, suddenly, it dawns on me. THIS is what the resurrection is all about. THIS is what Mary, Mary, and what’s her name experienced those long days before Easter morning. Death. The finality of it, the reality of it, and just how shitty it feels to not know what the hell is going on, and when the sun will rise again. So much we focus on Good Friday and Easter, without much thought of what the hell anyone did that day in between.
Maybe that’s what Lent is for… maybe that’s what Winter is for… a time for us to remember what it was like… to experience that awful dread that the disciples faced. To know what it feels like to long for things to be “back to normal”, so that when it happens… actually, let me correct that… when suddenly, everything springs forth with life, when the ground refuses to lie dead, and evicts it’s spindly green tendrils forth reaching upwards towards the warmth of the sunlight, when the very stones that held back the son of God refuse to do so anymore, they evict him… when Easter morning comes around… in that moment, when everything we’d hoped for DOESN’T happen… when something far more glorious, far more miraculous than we’d even DARED to dream happens, only then can we really experience the full understanding of what God has done for us. He’s taken our petty, smallish dreams, turned them upside down, and given us something too wonderful to even begin to comprehend.
That is why we have winter, and why we have death. To understand the smallness of our dreams and the possibility that God is doing something we could not begin to imagine. But in the meantime… I’ll wait. I’ll watch the cold hard earth and wait… wait for that tiny evicted tendril to break ground and shatter every little dream I had, only to pick them back up and piece together a dream I dared not dream.