The Crepe Myrtle in our backyard is starting to blossom and grow. The tree we once thought was dead is growing larger and larger everyday. We are so anxious for the beautiful flowers that will blossom from its leaves any day now. Spring has brought such beauty to our home. It is hard for me to justify the arrival of spring in an almost always sunny state of Florida. I remember when I was younger living up north. The winters were so dark, cold, and isolated indoors. If it weren’t for the blankets of white glistening snow, death would be all that you see. Spring was like a treat. A promise that something better was coming. We would wear shorts when it was only 50 degrees and dance at the sight of green grass.
Easter is Sunday. Holidays become much more extravagant when you have children. You want them to have fun, soak it all in, and still remember the beauty behind the holiday itself. I could start writing on the meaning of Easter, but I am sure we all know the origins. If you don’t, I would highly recommend you go sit in a church this Sunday Morning. Feeling adventurous, add Friday night as well. Easter is full of hope. Hope that we will be brought out of darkness, for a better life, for freedom. Easter Lilies will cover many churches this weekend. They signify innocence, life, purity and hope. They were said to grow where Christ sweat dropped in his final hours. The story of Christ crucifixion could be one full of sorrow and hate, but instead it brings hope. It brings life.
Years back I was going through a rough time. Battling my beliefs and where I was meant to be in life. I was lost in a haze of darkness just looking for clarity, for a glimpse of light. My early twenties didn’t help the situation. I was in a constant search for hope and answers as many are. A couple of my friends booked me a hotel in St Augustine and I went away for the weekend by myself. I am not one to be alone. I hate being alone, especially for a whole weekend. It was in that silence though, that I was able to move out of winter into spring. St Augustine is the oldest settlement in the United States. Silence is not as hard when imagining the many people who have also passed through that exact place. I have never seen such beautiful and elegant churches and chapels until that weekend. I bet I visited over 10. I sat in each chapel soaking in the beauty, the story, the hope. No one magically gave me the secret to life, or words of wisdom. I did not have some out of this world encounter. I simply sat in places where thousands already had, searching for the same thing- hope.
For someone who hates silence, I found a new appreciation for it that weekend. I wasn’t searching for an answer to where I should be, or with whom I should be, or when I should be there. I was searching for who I am in a such a crazy world. I was confused and torn by darkness in the world. I did not understand why such bad things can happen to people. I wanted to know my role in the huge story. Could I truly make a difference? Did it all really matter? It wasn’t words but silence that answered. What would Easter be without the silence of the tomb. What would spring be, without the isolation of the winter? No matter your beliefs, take a look this week at the hope in your life. Look back at moments of silence, that allowed you to see beauty in the story. You could be going through one of the darkest times of your life, what really matters is that you remember the promise of spring. Winter may feel longer than normal, and be more bitter and harsh than the last. Spring is always coming- growth, life, and hope.
I sat in those chapels and knew that many had come before me asking the same questions. Hope is not based on the things seen, but the promise of the unseen. The world may be full of darkness, but that is the story of Easter itself. Hope in the promise of light. That it has all been overcome. I sat in a nearly 450 year old Chapel and could feel the hope of those who have came before me. I was not alone. I walked through gardens of flowers that sang to me ‘the winter is over, and here is my promise of beauty to come.’ Take just a little time and appreciate the silence this week. Remember the next time you are in the heart of winter, spring will come.