Spring Miracles

I never can decide whether spring or fall is my favorite season. Both are beautiful, offering change and new directions, the beginnings of new roads and opportunities. 

But with spring outside, ready to touch, see, and smell, I’m feeling a bit swayed toward the beauty of this season.

It’s in the living buzz of the bees as they stuff their pockets with pollen.

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It’s in the scalloped edges of the new leaves, still sticky from their buds.

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It’s in the outrageous colors of the flowers, outdoing the imagination of any fashion designer.

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It’s in the unshorn grass, joyful to be alive and growing.

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It’s in the unfurling petals, reaching toward the sun.

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It’s the magic and mystery of the world coming back to life, of beauty and expectancy, of wonder even in the tiniest of vessels.

And so I pay attention.

Because each day is its own kind of miracle.

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A Bucket of Daffodils

I know winter in California is nothing to complain about. But it’s still my least favorite season. December brings Christmas, but then the lights and the cookies and the carols are done. January wears on, and sweaters get thin in the elbows. Windshield wipers fray. I start to long for spring. 

And then there are daffodils.

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My mom brought me a miniature bucket of them for my office the other day. Yellow and sprightly, they brighten the whole room. I remember studying abroad in England and admiring the hardy bulbs, the only things daring to bloom in a stubbornly cold April.

British poet William Wordsworth, whose cottage we visited, admired them too. They filled his quaint garden, where I sat and jotted notes nearly four years ago.

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He admired these flowers so much that one of his most famous poems is called “Daffodils.” It starts with these lines:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

I only really understood what he meant when I saw the fields of daffodils that sprawl over the English countryside while spring is still clinging to winter.

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Maybe you need a cheerful sprig of yellow, a bucket of daffodils, in your life today. They’re flowers of hope. May they remind both of us that spring is coming.

A Seventeen-Days-Late New Year’s Blessing

I know it’s three Fridays into the New Year. So posting a New Year’s blessing now feels late and a bit silly.

I also know it’s been two weeks since I blogged. I haven’t gotten up early every morning, and I’ve been writing a lot, but not 5 times a week. It’s discouraging to see myself fail to achieve my noble-minded New Year’s resolutions so quickly.

But maybe three weeks into 2014 is exactly when I need to be reminded that the year is still fresh and young. And maybe especially because those resolutions are already broken, it’s a good time to be reminded of grace. I shoot for the moon and miss on the first try. But thank goodness God isn’t done with this wayward archer.

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My mom tied up this poem with ribbon and gave it to me at Christmas. I love that it skirts the victorious sentimentalism of many New Year’s reflections. Rather, it focuses on a living relationship with God: sometimes gained through sorrow rather than joy; through failure rather than success. It’s a narrative of grace and a song of hope.

I hope it blesses you today.

New Year’s Blessing

In the new year I do not wish for you
that God will bless you,
since God already intends
only the deepest blessings for you.
I don’t wish that good things will happen to you,
since I don’t know
what will most beautifully shape your soul—
in what losses you will receive grace,
in what challenges you will gain wisdom,
in what struggles you will become more truly yourself.

Instead I hope for you this blessing:
that your heart be at peace,
that your mind be open
and your will be lovingly present;
that you live each day this year with love, courage and beauty,
with gentleness, trust and gratitude.
That you speak and be the truth,
that you find joy and wonder in your life,
that you be deeply mindful
of God’s indwelling presence,
God’s deep delight in accompanying you
in every breath.

May your work be fruitful,
your hope vibrant,
your voice clear,
and your friends faithful.

Whether you feel it or not,
deep blessing will be yours this year.
May you know it, and rejoice,
and live in harmony with God’s grace.

~Steve Garnaas-Holmes
(http://www.unfoldinglight.net)