Yesterday was the first day of spring. I can almost hear the angels singing and the weary, storm-ravaged parents rejoicing. It has been a long winter for many. Snow storms on top of snow storms. Flooding. Or conversely, drought in some areas. When the calendar rolls over to March, the inherent hope of spring makes all things seem a bit lighter.
After moving this past summer, we have endured our first “hard” winter and now that the sun is beginning to peek out again, we are walking to and from school. This daily walk has been a true gift. Flowers and blossoms are bursting forth and it feels like the world is waking up. Almost like the Artist, our Creator, came out of a gray, winter slump, bought a new set of paints and set to work.
There is value in the gray. Growth comes from the times of hibernation and long, dark nights. But the colors, sounds and opportunity of spring seems to push us towards new life and hope. My friend, Micha Boyett, known as Mama Monk in the blogging world, has a book coming out in a week called Found: A Story of Questions, Grace and Everyday Prayer. Micha shares about her journey during the second and third years of her oldest son’s life. After “losing” her Spirit life during her son’s first year, the book chronicles her journey to find meaning and connection with God in new ways. Micha openly talks about these darker days, filled with the chaos and unpredictability of parenting. The moments we often feel lost. Lost dreams. Lost vision. Lost direction. Lost hope. And the opportunity God gives us to be “found” again, even in the midst of parenting and life changing before our eyes.
She shares, “…In the same way you can’t understand spring without the winter suffering, the warm thaw of Easter cannot be celebrated without first sinking into the cold, dark murk of Good Friday. That’s why I need liturgy in my life. That’s why I need a church calendar to guide me….”
As parents seeking to explore these same realities with our children, how do we help them engage in the realities of Easter, of seasons of darkness & light, with authenticity and hope? The light, joy and promise of Palm Sunday, the fear of Maundy Thursday, the darkness of Good Friday and the new life found just three days later on Easter. How can this mystery be explained, when we ourselves struggle with the dichotomies and truths of one week in the life of Christ?
I was surprised this week that walking to and from school with my boys helped me answer this question in an unexpected way. Is there such thing as a spiritual practice of the daily walk to school? The conversations to be had? The observations to be made? The quiet and the rushed steps? They ALL work towards seeing God moving and changing, building and growing, being present in our daily, mundane lives….as liturgy of the natural world. The bright, vibrancy of the daffodils, tulips and hyacinths from the dormant ground seem like a message to us each day, traipsing down our street….God saying, “Hey! I make all things new! Out of that snow covered, icy ground….there is new life brewing. The gray skies won’t stay forever and behind the clouds?! There is always blue.”
My boys and I didn’t have these “revelations” or hear God in the formality of the church sanctuary or in the confines of a Sunday School classroom (although they happen there too!). But, it was found in the mundane, everyday moments of life, chaotic and unpredictable as they may be. Walking home from school. Playing on the playground. Making pizza with fresh vegetables. Doing homework. Odd as it might sound, sometimes life, newness and hope breaks through in the most unpredictable of times. In the most unexpected places and ways. Spring reminding us that new life waits under the Earth. Resurrection is happening. Even in the dark, hopeless gray, color is below the surface or behind the clouds all along.
Micha Boyett’s book, Found, officially releases on April 1st. Worthy Publishing reflects that Found is a “story of discovering divine kindness and affection in the most mundane moments of life. With brilliant and moving prose, Micha invites us on a journey to discover the richness in the everyday—and it changes everything.” It is a thought-provoking and yet, practical book written with honesty. Micha always makes me feel that I am not alone in my questions about faith and mothering and helps me think more deeply about the implications of Benedictine spirituality for “the rest of us”. If you want to read more of Micha’s writing (which you SHOULD!), hop on over to her blog which moved to a new location today, March 21st, at www.michaboyett.com.