There’s so much life all around me these days that it’s starting to get just a little bit annoying. Just last week the tidal basin was adorned with the most beautiful cherry blossoms; all around town dormant flower beds are filled again; leaves are suddenly sprouting from bare branches; the dust of pollen adds a little tinge of yellow to just about everything.
I can’t verify this for sure, but it even seems to me like there are more babies around than usual.
At any rate, spring is here, and it seems to be announcing itself with a particularly grand entrance this year. In general, this is a turn of events that I anticipate every year and revel in once it comes. Crisp air and bright sunshine are kind of like a substitute for caffeine, after all.
But I’ve been grappling these past few weeks with the dissonance of all of this life standing in stark contrast to grief, illness, and death . . . all of which seem to be hanging out around Calvary a little more than usual. And I’m finding that there’s something strangely disconcerting about driving down a lush, tree-lined lane toward the home of an elderly parishioner to tell her her best friend has just died. It makes my heart especially ache to watch a grieving widow cry at a graveside, all the while bathed in the most glorious puddle of spring sunshine. And is it strange to anyone else that the most glorious branches of azalea blossoms in full bloom fill a beautiful arrangement . . . on top of a casket?
While everything around me is singing a song of life, I find myself living in this strange gray area, grief and hope all mixed together. But that’s just life, isn’t it? Full and crazy, strange and wonderful life. I wonder somedays if I have the courage to embrace it . . . .
For human life in all its poignant contradictions, I give thanks this day, and hold on tight to the hopeful affirmation that seems to soothe my heart in these days: “In life and in death we belong to God”.
Thanks be to God. Amen.