Spring peeking out

I went on a walk today. Not long, not fast, just a meandering around the neighborhood with my husband. It was sixty plus degrees, a beautiful blue sky and the sun shining. It fact the sun was already going down in the west. I took some beautiful photos that did not do justice to the fall leaves.

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Some of the trees are not as pretty, but I caught these at the right time. I expect to see the leaves turn, the beautiful colors of the mums, marigolds and pansies. Imagine my surprise, when one of my irises bloomed. These are the ones that bloom first in the spring. I stopped and looked and was amazed.

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The spent dried leaves of the tree are all around this beautiful spring iris who chose to pop up in the middle of the season of dying. This purple flower is a reminder that even though the winter is coming, and with it cold and darkness, it is not the final word. Spring is waiting underneath, ready to bring light, love and brilliant color after the long dark nights of winter.

Natalie Sleeth wrote a contemporary hymn in the 1980’s as she contemplated autumn/spring, life and death. Upon hearing it not long before he died, he asked that it be sung at his funeral. “Hymn of Promise” has become beloved in many denominations and used to reaffirm life, faith and hope when confronted with death and to celebrate Easter. There is version often sung at the church I serve for funerals. Unfortunately, I could not find an adequate rendition on youtube.com

The first verse goes like this:

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

I do love this hymn. The hopefulness, the promise, and the trust that in the midst of it all, God is there and that not one of us is left alone. I am and you are surrounded by grace. I often experience that grace through music and relationship. Others experience it in other ways.

The last two verses of the hymn say this:

There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

Natalie Sleeth’s words ring true for me. The oddest things are paired together: doubt and faith, word and melody, dawn and darkness, past and future, winter and spring. That little iris reminded me of that today. I am grateful in the midst of the vibrant colors of autumn, that spring is hidden beneath the brown grass and the blowing leaves. Life will burst forth in the most mysterious ways throughout fall and winter. Through those peeks of spring, I remain a person of hope and faith.

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