Every year just about now, winter weighs me down. This year…even more so. Read on as Carla Foote invites us to be on the lookout for hope.
By Carla Foote
Last fall I planted new bulbs in my garden. Even though I already have a variety of bulbs in my yard, I plant a few new ones each fall. I can always squeeze in a dozen daffodils or tulips or add the smaller crocuses and dwarf iris.
Bulbs seems like such a miracle to me - they look like brown, lifeless blobs. In the darkness of winter, they grow hidden deep in the soil - sending down roots and pushing up shoots of new life.
I used to be careful about making notes about where I planted bulbs. I am less organized now in my garden, and in the spring I am often surprised with some of the blooms. Did I really plant bulbs in that section? What fun!
Spring blooms from bulbs are hope realized. In the waning days of fall, in the midst of dying leaves and declining sunlight, I make this hopeful gesture in my garden. Tossing brown globes into holes in the dirt.
In the spring, this hope is rewarded with beauty. Sure, some of the bulbs don't make it. The squirrels dig up some for winter food. Others conceal disease and remain stagnant. But most create new life and beauty.
This act of hope seemed even more important this last year. Last fall, rather than seeing the pandemic ease, we saw a surge of infections and deaths. Not to mention division and difficulty in our country. All that when headed into the darkest months of winter in the northern hemisphere. And it seemed like winter was harsh this year, even in regions where ice and snow are unusual.
But now we turn the calendar to spring. The bulbs that were seemingly dormant in the winter are now sending up shoots. The early bulbs have already made their appearance.
I love that Easter is in the spring (in the northern hemisphere). Is there a better symbol of death coming to life than bulbs pushing forth? I know the parallels aren't completely accurate. Jesus was actually dead - and the bulbs are just dead-looking. But still - the metaphor of hope pushes through.
So today, just a few weeks before Easter, I am on the lookout for hope. We need to continue on through the last days of Lent and the events of Holy Week, where the weight of grief and pain and sacrifice are important to consider. And for many, the grief of this year is heavy. Grief and lament are necessary. Yet we grieve as those who also have hope.
Spring flowers are bursting forth. But more than that, there is the hope of new life in the dead places of my own soul. That's the real miracle. I worship the One who was crucified, died, and rose again. The Creator, not just the creation. The ultimate miracle of Jesus is hope realized - life can spring from dead places.
Adapted for 2021 from a previously published Really blog.
Carla Foote is the blog manager for the Really blog, and does other freelance work through Fine Print Editorial. She enjoys working on a variety of editorial and writing projects. She also serves on the board of Magazine Training International and has helped train Christian editors around the world through in-person and online courses.
When she isn't working at her computer, she is probably walking through the neighborhood, puttering in her garden, or reading a good novel.