Crabapple trees in pink frills process down my new street. All winter I wondered what color they would wear. Their miniature crabapples fell onto the sidewalks and gave the early robins something to eat in the cold. Still, they kept their secret. Now I’m showered with fragrance as I pass them on my morning walk.
I needed spring.
I didn’t just hope for spring, long for spring or crave spring. This year I. needed. it. We moved into a new town, a new empty life right before the dying seasons and by March, I was holding my breath. I hadn’t been writing much, here or in my journal, afraid to go digging in the mucky soil. I was afraid of what I would find. I couldn’t write, couldn’t tunnel down with a trowel into the loam without signs of resurrection.
I’ve been a coward.
I know the grip of depression, the root ball of the mind squeezing tight. I’ve lived in its tomb before. This year I’ve been waiting…like the earth.
Last week, I took a camera with me, the children kicked on scooters creating a rhythm as they slid over the cracks and I went searching…for resurrection.
Late the next day we drove up to McConnell’s Mill State Park. The children found a sandy spot on the trail by Slippery Rock River and started digging like they were at the beach. Caedmon rested under a tree deep in a book and Andrew took out his fly rod waving it back and forth with nymphs tied on tight for the ride. I went hiking, D60 camera around my neck, looking for light and resurrection.
Tillium. They push up hidden under a canopy of trees creating constellations of light for those who go into the deep forests to find them. I remember tramping back into our woods behind the North Fairfield house in the wet of early spring and discovering an island covered with trillium. I held my breath as I tiptoed between their stalks afraid they would die if my foot came down heavy.
In the days that followed I found other constellations of light and tried to drink deep. But it wasn’t until I started naming the spaces in between, the dark places, that I began to hope. So much of what was making me hold my breath was a fear of rejection. Being new has its gifts but for a girl whose main wounding includes a fear of rejection, being new is like a drive over Gabon’s dirt roads from pothole to pothole, jolted and holding on, exhausting. I began to see patterns of tiny rejections I was holding onto. When was it that I quit writing? When was it that I began to veg out in front of the tv every night? When was it that new experiences made my heart pound hard?
We have to name the dark before we can renounce it.
I started to pray simply when I felt the shadow passing over, asking this question: what core longing is not being fulfilled? (This core longing list comes from here from Terry Wardle and maybe you remember my conversation about my moving fears and the core longing litany found here.)
Am I lacking:
A safe and secure environment,
constant reinforcement of my personal worth,
the need for repeated messages that I am valued, unique and special,
the need for unconditional love and acceptance,
basic care and nurture,
encouragement to grow and develop my personal gifts and talents,
a pathway to fellowship with you,
a sense of belonging, or
to feel useful and needed.
Acknowledging the empty places led me to light. He is always the Source of our core longings…no amount of turning toward the face of another will provide these essentials.
In lamenting my lack I was able to open my hands. I was able to stop the search, open my hands and ask the Provider.
Halfway through my hike, I had taken out my iphone and clicked. I breathed in the mist foaming up around the waterfall but I didn’t see THIS until my husband commented on it days later:
Light was streaming in.
In the midst of my maniacal search for resurrection, I had been bathed in unknown light. I breathed out slowly. He had always been present on the road. Resurrection had found me.
linking with the lovely Jen Ferguson and the Soli Deo Gloria sisters
and joining with Jennifer’s community of storytellers...and boy, she will lift you up and speak encouragement straight into your eyes today: Don’t Give up.