Is it just me, or was February a rough month?
Weather-wise, it was more perfect than any February I've ever know. No wonder Southerners are so happy all the time! We spent so much time outside soaking up vitamin D that it was impossible to get bummed out. I've been wanting to say, "Spring has sprung!" this week, but I really can't. Spring hasn't sprung because it felt like it was there all along. It's more like, "Spring is still here! Except now for real!"
Otherwise, February was hard. Not for us directly, but I had more friends experiencing some sort of crisis all at the same time than I think in all of the rest of the year put together. Injuries, deaths, heart-breaks, hospitals and more phone calls than I knew what to do with. Meals were made, cards were signed, lame encouragements given. I felt inadequate, sad for all these different dear friends and a little afraid of what would happen next.
It feels a little juxtaposed that at the end of such a crazy month, the trees started budding a good three weeks earlier than usual. Crocus are sprouting and pollen counts are already high. On the last day of that strange month my mom even heard the frogs singing.
Frog singing is a monumentous occasion for us. My parents' property has a small creek running through that feeds into our neighbor's pond and those frogs are so safe and happy back there they sing in a riotous cacophony every spring and stay until the first real cold snap. Then they hibernate, burrowing deep, deep down in the mud to hide from the frigid air. My heart sighs a little when they stop singing every November, yet smiles at the deep, cold stillness in the air and in anticipation of a few restful months. The cold and quiet in the months to follow can be hard though, and I often struggle with the winter blues. Come March, everyone starts trying to be the first to hear the frogs, to get to be the person who runs back inside shouting, "The frogs are singing! The frogs are back, you guys!" When those frogs start singing my heart swells with happiness at the reminder of a new season, new hope, new life.
You know what's odd? When those frogs started singing this year it just wasn't as exciting as usual. Sure, we all smiled when my mom shut the back door and said, "Wow, there are already a few frogs out tonight." We all felt a little jealous that she noticed first. Within a few days they were their old riotous selves again. But it just wasn't as exciting somehow because I didn't it as much as usual. No cold, dirty snow sat still melting in the shadows. No exciting moment of "I don't need a coat today!" because I guess I've worn my coat about ten times this winter. No, "Let's go to the park!" like it was new and different because we've gone to the park several times a week all winter. No huge sigh of relief and swelling of joy because, well, it just never really went away in the first place this year.
I'm certainly glad for that, but I think I'm reminded anew that the storms in life serve a purpose. They make the sweet sweeter because we appreciate it more. I know it's cliche, but you can't have rainbows without sunshine and rain. Sunshine is sweet, and I sure do want more of it than rain (or snow!) but I would miss those rainbows if I never got any rain.
I know I have friends who probably feel really conflicted about this odd and early spring. It probably feels strange to see flowers and feel warm sun earlier than usual when sadness lingers in your heart or pain still throbs in your limbs. But I guess what I hope is that this strange season is a reminder of the fact that God is good all the time; all the time, He is good. That He works the bad into good and blesses us constantly with more good than we deserve.
My heart is thankful.