Thank the Lord, it’s sunny today.  And warm.  I was about to think we were skipping spring this year, which, besides throwing off the way the entire planet works, would throw off the way my emotions work as well.
          This year hasn’t been my favorite so far.  It started with some depressive feelings, and they have hovered overhead ever since, like a storm cloud threatening a downpour at any moment.  There has been an excessive amount of sickness going around my family this winter, which does nothing for morale.  And then there’s the lack of writing time, which I’ve come to realize is an important ingredient in my well-being.  We took a recent trip to L.A., which brought some relief from the cold and snow, but returned to yet another winter storm and the feeling that spring was a dream that wouldn’t be realized.
          I think I feel this way each year.  Eager to replace the heavy storm door with a screen and step outside in short sleeves rather than a full-body covering of wool.  Ready for walking Luke to school again, the excitement of booming thunder claps and weather advisories, redbuds and forsythia blooms, the sight of Mae’s little toddler legs in shorts, the feeling of promise in the air and warmth on your skin. This waiting, waiting for something new – it’s about to make me crazy.  And then I wake up and the sun is shining.  And someone is wearing a tank top at the park.  And everyone is smiling.  Hallelujah.
          We wanted to name our third child something that meant “renewal,” but all we could find was Chun, a Chinese name that didn’t quite have the sweet, happy sound we were looking for.  So we went with Mae, which means, well, May.  She was born in March, but it was the only name we actually liked that had a spring-related connotation.  It was close enough for us.  During labor I listened to a Gungor song over and over.  The chorus repeats:
                    You make beautiful things
                    You make beautiful things out of the dust.
                    You make beautiful things.
                    You make beautiful things out of us.
It’s a thank-you song to God.  And a welcome-to-the-world-little-beautiful-thing song.  It was a perfect way to say hello to Mae as she made her entrance, with promise and newness and crinkled skin all over her face.  It’s been two years since she burst onto the scene, but she’s still a daily reminder of the beauty that can come from nothing.  Of hope personified.
          Yesterday we celebrated Easter – early this year, thankfully.  It came at the right time for my weary heart.  A day to take the focus off of me and put it on something, someone, much greater was a welcome reprieve from my self-centered ways.  A day to be grateful.  To remember why tree buds and flower blossoms and warming temperatures are beautiful.  They reflect a deep, planet-affirming ache in our hearts.  For newness.  For starting over.  For proof that though something lies dormant for a time, it can come back again in brilliant color and glorious life.  That though my heart doubts that spring will come, it always does.  No matter how distant it seems, it is there, under the surface, ready to burst into view when the time is right.  Bam.  Beauty all over the place.
          I’m hoping spring is here to stay, though I’m sure we’ll see a few more days of cold and gloom.  But I’m hanging on to the signs of newness I can see today: a daffodil in the neighbor’s yard, my cherry tree buds popping open, the irises making their way through the mulch.  They weren’t here two days ago.
          Bam.  It begins.