Friday, March 29, 2013

one last freeze.

{photo by Jules Kendall}

An old teacher of mine came by the store yesterday. I guess, really, more than an old teacher: an old friend. She's the kind of teacher we all hopefully had at one time or another, the kind that makes you want to teach, makes you want to learn and read and experience all life has to offer. She was a confidant and mentor my last two years of high school, and to see her now, 10 years later, was surreal and wonderful, and in just a few moments, we were right back where we always were, student and teacher, me eagerly sitting, learning from her. 

We were conversing about spring, about gardening and friendships and this transient Tallahassee town.

And in the middle of all that, somewhere, she told me:

"My grandmother always said when Easter came early, to hold off on planting your garden. There's always one good freeze left." 

This year, with Easter surprising us this last weekend in March, our corner of the world has had a couple days of freezing temperatures. Some northern states are experiencing snow, so there's really no room to complain. But my little garden is at stake, and each night, Jordan and I cover my plants with a sheet, and I say a silent prayer that they keep growing, that the freeze doesn't cost them their lives. 

I just really need something to grow right now. 

My brother is home, just for a day or two, to celebrate the wedding of a friend. He's had a rough season -- I wager a broken hand in the middle of graduate level work would take its toll on anyone -- and as we talked on Wednesday over lunch, I heard him say words I've been saying to myself lately.

"I just really need to win one right now."

And I know just what he means, because gosh... Jordan and I are happy. We are content. We are goofy and fun and smiling, and on the surface? Nothing much is wrong. 

But then there are the maggots from two weeks ago that have now become flies. Each day I march into my living room armed with a broom or a rolled-up magazine, and I feel like Moses conquering the ten plagues, because flies? Flies are gross, and I now more than ever sympathize with the Egyptians who dealt with one thing after another while at the hands of a Pharaoh who was more in control than they were. 

There are the friends who are moving and leaving and starting new adventures, and we're exhausted preparing mentally and physically for their departure. We are cramming in road trips and movie nights and dinners out because everything is about to change. 

There are the church issues that, like those maggots I thought had disappeared, have reared their ugly heads again, only this time bigger and deeper and somehow, worse. 

And each day is filled with happy, good things, but the overarching feeling is more frost than spring, more funk than awakening. 

I am ready for spring metaphorical almost as much as I am ready for spring literal, but I can't help thinking about my teacher's words. 

There's always one more freeze. 

I wonder, as a believer ending Holy Week and walking toward the resurrection, if this is how the disciples felt. Happy, celebratory dinners and precious moments with their Savior and friend, but an overarching theme of sorrow and tension and uncertainty. And after Palm Sunday, they must have thought spring was coming. They must have started planting seeds and prepping for kingdom work. They must have thought the tides had changed and new weather was around the corner. 

And then it wasn't. 

The worst happened, and a freeze came that nearly killed everything. Did kill everything. The seeds they'd planted, the kingdom they'd prepared for, the ruling they were sure would save them all? Dead, killed in an overnight plan that started with greed and a deceitful kiss. 

If you're a believer, today marks Good Friday, and if you're like me, you wonder what's so good about it. You wonder why the plan had to look like this, had to involve death and darkness and a distinct and devastating loss of hope. 

And while I don't think I'll ever know the whys of the plan, I'm learning, this year, there is goodness in today. There is power in that one last freeze before spring, the submission that comes with letting forces beyond our control do their thing so that we can begin the business of rising again. 

So, yes. There are dozens of flies dancing in my living room. There are friends packing and moving and making plans. There are questions about our church and our future there that ultimately, will need to be answered, once and for all. There are issues that plague our marriage and questions about our jobs. 

This, I hope, has been the freeze, the final blow before we can get back up and try again, before we can work in our gardens and greet -- with equal parts exhaustion and jubilation -- the spring we have been waiting for.


Heather Burris said...

What a beautiful post! Best I've read in a long time

Erin said...

This is beautiful. I love your perspective on holy week.
I hope you are able to feel the warmth of spring (literally and metaphorically) soon.

Ray Sherlock said...

Hi Annie, your beautiful post reminds of of the song that talks about the time in between. It is the struggle moments, the time between joy and renewed joy that we must travel to truly experience and appreciate those wonderful moments.

mlawlr said...

Hi Annie!

You are such a great writer. I thought you would find this inspiring...I just found it on Wikepedia, so not sure how true but it helped me with a church/heart issue I had:

According to Eusebius, only Christians resisted him.
For the men endured fire and sword and crucifixion and wild beasts and the depths of the sea, and cutting off of limbs, and burnings, and pricking and digging out of eyes, and mutilations of the entire body, and besides these, hunger and mines and bonds. In all they showed patience in behalf of religion rather than transfer to idols the reverence due to God.
And the women were not less manly than the men in behalf of the teaching of the Divine Word, as they endured conflicts with the men, and bore away equal prizes of virtue. And when they were dragged away for corrupt purposes, they surrendered their lives to death rather than their bodies to impurity.
He refers to one high-born Christian woman who rejected his advances. He exiled her and seized all of her wealth and assets.[9] Eusebius does not give the girl a name, but Tyrannius Rufinus calls her "Dorothea," and writes that she fled to Arabia. This story may have evolved into the legend of Dorothea of Alexandria. Caesar Baronius identified the girl in Eusebius' account with Catherine of Alexandria, but the Bollandists rejected this theory.[9]

Found here:

jenna said...

Thank you for so sincerely sharing your heart with us. As you always seem to do, your words stir in me... resonate with me.. My heart aches with yours, especially in some of these particular pains. (Church stresses. Best friend moving.)
Praying that spring will come soon, in fullness of beauty! That it will burst forth, bringing great light and warmth and moments of victory! For you. Jordan. your brother. and honestly, for myself as well.
Love you dearly friend.