Monday, April 7, 2014

There is a Season

Today was the first day of Spring Break.  Noah did not come into the house for eight straight hours, which of course begs the questions:  What did he eat all day? and Did he not have to use the restroom? During the last week, the snow has finally melted from the ground, save a few spots close to the house. Spring is finally here in Grand Rapids and I am finally understanding a few things that I always heard other people talk about, but never fully understood the metaphors.

First, "seasons" as they pertain to seasons of life.  Bright, fun, summery seasons full of joy.  Blustery autumnal days with chilly change. Dark wintery seasons heavy with sadness and heartache.  And finally days of Spring bringing new life, hope, and anticipation of things to come.  We have seasons here in Michigan, unlike what I grew up knowing in Phoenix.  My concept of seasonal changes growing up was of the cartoonish calendar in my classroom depicting fall leaves, snowflakes, umbrellas, flowers, and sandcastles.  My teacher read books to our class about mythical snow days and fall apple picking.  Outside in real life, Phoenix looks pretty much the same twelve months a year. Then, we moved here.  We arrived in summer when days were long, our hope was strong, and our bank account was full.  The leaves slowly changed color and began to fall.  We marveled at the beauty of it all, the sun set earlier, and we began to feel lots of feelings.  The whole spectrum of feelings, really.  Then, winter came.  I learned a new phrase, "winter vortex", and we had a lot of frigid days because of that stupid vortex.  We don't have TV, so I don't really know what the national and local weathermen and weatherladies had to say about it, but I do know that our weather set some records around these parts.  We have had a nearly six month winter with obscene amounts of snow and record low temperatures.  The chill to my bones did not leave for months.  Our family was in a season of winter too.  I don't really feel sharing the nitty gritty on the internet is right because it is so personal, but I can say that just as it was perhaps the hardest winter in Grand Rapids history, it was the most difficult season in the record of our lives too.  It seemed like we were hit from so many angles... financially, spiritually, relationally, emotionally.  It was really lonely.  Just as the snow is melting and green is starting to reappear, hope is returning to our family as well. We are thankful for employment.  The kind of thankfulness that only comes after a long bout with unemployment.  We have hope about the purpose of why we moved to Grand Rapids in the first place, the non-profit we wish to get up and running to serve others.  Happiness is returning to our kids, as 1/3 of the Crazies has had an extremely tough time with this transition.  Our hearts are changing and we are taking steps to stay emotionally healthy.  Spring has sprung in more ways than one.

Related, I finally get what spring cleaning is all about.  When the snow melts, there is a lot of garbage underneath.  We discovered that there are a whole lot of people tossing vodka bottles out of their car windows.  Under the snow there is roadkill that has been frozen for months, but now they are not frozen and there are a lot of carcasses.  There were hubcaps, random shoes, a bumper, fast food trash, cigarette butts, evidence of unsavory shenanigans, and all those liquor bottles strewn up and down our road.  Mylie and I put on some gloves and filled multiple trash bags just cleaning the area in front of our house and up the road a bit.  Then inside the house, there are snow boots, snow bibs, hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves that I was very eager to put away and not see again until next winter.  There are shorts and tank tops and my beloved flip flops that I was pleased to return to my closet from the basement.  Opening windows to let in fresh air and let the stagnant air out has been glorious.  We are taking heavy quilts off beds.  We are cleaning long neglected crevices.  We are throwing out accumulated junk.  Spring cleaning our home feels good.  We are praying more as a family.  We are focusing on good and healthy habits.  We are reading our Bibles more.  We are finding ways to serve others more.  Spring cleaning our souls feels even better.

I really hope to return to blogging more regularly.  I love to write, and I love sharing the antics of our Crazies.