I am wearing batik today. My students think I am getting ready for vacation. I just tell them no, it is something else. It is my silent reminder to myself.
I have written elsewhere on this blog about the confluence of dates every spring. Anna’s birthday comes at the end of March. The anniversary of her death comes today in early May. In between nearly every year comes Easter Sunday, the day we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. We remember his resurrection in the past and we look with hope to the day all believers, the living and the dead, will rise to be with him. As one of the many ways that God has been gracious to us in these events, I have considered the calendar to be one of them. Before we come to the day when we remember Anna’s death, we are given an annual fresh glimpse of our future resurrection. It removes the sting of the memory a bit when we know that Christ has conquered death; we now have hope instead.
Having said that, there is another confluence of dates on the calendar that is not quite so kind. I often forget that Timberley has to endure every year a set of dates that I do not experience the same way. When we come to May 7 each year, Timberley is faced with knowing that the next Sunday is Mothers’ Day. That opportunity to honor our mothers is always mixed with more than a regular share of sadness.
God has blessed Timberley this spring in a different way. When we moved to our house five years ago, one of the previous owners had left several rose bushes at various points around the yard. Timberley moved them all to the back of the house where they get good sun and we could enjoy them when we go into the yard. This spring, for some reason, the plants have exploded with flowers. She has been daily bringing more flowers into the house. Her fingers are getting scarred from the painful process of removing the thorns from the stems. But she cannot resist the beauty and aroma of these enormous roses.
The first spring after Anna’s death, I thought the arrival of leaves and flowers in the spring was some sort of cruel joke from God. I wanted a perpetual winter. I had become Lewis’s white witch. But God had other plans. He forced spring upon me that year in Louisville. I was forced to watch bulbs spring out of the earth in new life emerging from dormancy. I was forced to watch seemingly dead trees come to life again with the regreening of the branches. And I had to confess then that God had a better plan for us. He had already conquered death that first Easter morning 2000 years ago. Springtime was one of the annual events that he would give us to remind us that death is not the final word on our lives. He will one day restore all things. Anna’s body, like each of ours, will one day reemerge from the ground like a crocus in the spring. And it will be a beautiful flower indeed.