“If you walk along here,” he said, tracing the tip of his pen along the shoreline, “you should be able to see the seals lying out on the sandbar. And here,” the pen stopped, “there’s a little shack people have assembled over the years. We always point it out, but some recent guests told us that it’s pretty dilapidated from the storms this winter.”
A few minutes later, we were walking on the beach. A chestnut Newfoundland lumbered past us with his owner. The dog stopped beside me and stood still while I ran my fingers through his thick tangles, and then he quietly dropped to the sand at my feet. “Therapy dog,” the man explained with a smile. “Apparently he thinks I might be talking for a while.”
The wind was brisk and moist, and I pulled my coat tight around my throat. Fog hung heavy over the water. We wouldn’t be seeing any seals.
Waiting for Spring
We did, however, find the shack. I found it to be a perfect picture of New England at the end of another long winter. A bit bedraggled, part of the fence leaning more like a ramp than a barrier, but still standing in all its quirky glory, defiantly (or desperately) waiting for the return of the summer sun. It made me chuckle.
We’d escaped over Easter weekend to a little bed and breakfast on Cape Cod. It had been a heavy season for us, one as gray and thick as the fog that hung over the cold water that day. We needed new scenery. We needed a distraction, something to pull our aching hearts away from the monthly task of staring down the possibility of a future without children. So we found ourselves on a beach in the fury of a reluctant New England spring, traipsing through the tumbledown remains of someone else’s summer glory.
I’ve been thinking about that trip this year, as Pennsylvania’s spring has proved nearly as petulant. It comes in fits and starts, sweet-talking us with sunshine and the promise of warmer days, then sending me, resigned, back to my pile of thick winter sweaters and another week of waiting to plant seeds in my garden.
But I know that one of these days spring will tighten its grip and life will return in full. It may be cold today and threatening snow, but soon there will come a day when green buds will film on the skeletal branches of our neighbor’s towering maple. Bees will dance over tiny white flowers on the hedge along my walk into town. I will throw open the windows to the warm breeze, and I will move my office outside to the small glass-topped table on the back porch. We’ll all finally stumble out of our hibernation into lines at the local ice cream shop and benches in the park. It will come—no matter what my eyes may see today, no matter how deep the wind may blow the cold into my bones—I have no doubt it will come.
Year after year, the shifting seasons enact resurrection. Year after year, I remember in this in-between season that the question is not if life will be reborn but when. And my heart finds hope as I’m reminded of the surety of another life dawning. I am sure of the resurrection spring will bring. I am also sure of the resurrection God will bring when he restores all things, when he finally and ultimately makes all things new.
There are some days and seasons that the winter of this waiting feels long. Every time I see death bring a goodbye too soon, every time I come face to face with the painful effects of broken bodies and minds, every time I see evil prosper and justice unmet—I feel in my bones the cry, “How long?” That longing is painful, yes, but it is not without hope, for I know no matter how long I may wait, one day that glorious Spring will come.
On the days that feel gray and heavy, like that Easter weekend years ago, I anchor myself in the surety of this hope, which holds fast in the Resurrection of Jesus. I follow and worship a living Savior and a resurrecting God. There is nothing too hopeless, nothing too dead for him to breathe life into. Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead two millennia ago was simply the first fruit, the first budding, the first shimmering warmth of a New Creation. There is nothing he will not redeem. If Jesus rose, I will rise, and I will see all things made new. No matter what my eyes may see today—it will come. Thanks be to God.