When we pulled into the driveway late last night, we had a laugh. “There they are! The dandelions!” we exclaimed while snickering. “It’s tradition!”
I resisted bursting into a certain song from Fiddler on the Roof, though I thought about it. Somehow, four years in a row, we’ve managed to be out of town the first week of May. And always — always — when we return home, we have an embarrassing amount of dandelions growing in our front yard. A couple of times in this four year period, we’ve returned home the second week of May, and then. . . Hooboy. I’ve always wondered if the lack of lawn care during our absence might have embarrassed our neighbors.
I’m not sure, but along with the absurd amount of dandelions, when we manage to come home at this time of year, we also see leaves for the first time! They’re just sprouting. And not only that: We are seeing the tulips in our backyard and the white blooms of bradford pear trees down the street. I’m sure there is more to discover throughout our town too (and on this 78 degree day. Yes!)
I’ll tell you, I’ve never appreciated spring to the degree I do now, and that is certainly linked to living in a space that favors a long, winter climate. Some of it is simply enjoying the warmer temperatures. But I love spring because you can see an obvious, visual expression of life claiming the space.
It’s a parable that writes itself.
And we need life to claim all kind of spaces — the anxiety, the grief, the hopelessness, the overwork, the boredom, the less-than-ness (internalized or wrongly proclaimed by others). We need this.
Dr. Michael Jinkins will soon retire as the President of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, but before he served there, he was Academic Dean of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, where I studied. He was a great mentor and friend to me during those years. He used to say,
“You can’t really believe in resurrection.” He may have meant a couple of different things by this expression, but mostly, I think he was saying, while resurrection is something hoped for, it is hardly ever foreseen. In other words, resurrection is experienced and proclaimed more than believed. It’s hard to envision it beforehand; when life claims the space, it’s almost always a surprise.
Resurrection is hard to anticipate, especially in its specific forms. But when it comes, we experience it and proclaim it with a sense of wonder.
I hope we always have the wonder.