The Testimony of Spring


A few years ago I was rifling through my grandmother's kitchen cabinets and came upon one - the highest one, far out of reach for her barely 5 foot frame, possibly even with her trusty step stool - that was packed tight with old glass bottles.

Upon my inquiry, Maw Maw rolled her eyes and chuckled. "Those are your Paw Paw's collection. He just loves glass bottles, though the Lord knows he dudn't do nothin' with them. They just sit up there collecting dust!"

"Can I have some?"

"You can when he's dead and gone! He won't part with 'em before then!"

When Paw Paw came home from checking on the cows later in the afternoon, Maw Maw told him about my interest in the discovery.  He just smiled, pleased with himself, the way he does when he gets to tell someone new that Archie Manning is his cousin.  His eyes kinda twinkled in delight to find that someone like me would find beauty in the same thing as someone like him.

I've obtained my own bottles since that day, gleefully picking them up here and there at thrift stores or on the side of the road.  Each time it makes me think of him. I wish we lived closer. I wish I could pull the new ones out when he stopped by on a Tuesday afternoon, and we could assess together which ones were the best of the lot.  

This sweet baby boy of ours will be arriving soon, ready to usurp Moses' position and steal Alyosha's heart, ready to throw our lives into a 6 week whirlwind as we rub bleary eyes and slurp coffee and search for the floor with the soles of our feet.

Our world will shrink, as it should, and our hearts will expand, as they do.  And some days we'll hibernate and eat frozen food and watch too much TV, and some days we'll go on long walks and soak up the summer sun and watch little boys wrestle with training wheels on bikes.  And as the body of our youngest fattens, life will become ordinary once more.

Last week I finally took the sticks and the pine cones down from the mantel.  I struggled to maneuver my awkward body up and down the attic steps, arms brimming with color that had been in hiding those long winter months.  The jars I haphazardly juggled reminded me of my grandfather and they reminded me of my unborn son.  I balanced the two in my heart as I gingerly placed Life into each watered hole.

Being a Southern girl, I've never had the experience of particularly feeling as though I had earned spring.  That changed this year, and I fill my vases like I'm pinning a medal of honor.  It wasn't the sub-zero temperatures or the ice and snow that felt so unyielding; it was the way those things reflected what lay under our skin.  Never in my life have the seasons so closely mimicked the state of my heart as they did this year.  Spring is a sight for sore eyes.

I'm writing all over the map today.  My grandpa and my baby and green grass and the seasons of the year and the seasons of our hearts: maybe it seems to you like none of it is connected.

But my infant's life testifies to the life of my grandfather.  The life of my grandfather testifies to the life of his third great-grandson.  Spring testifies to winter, summer will testify to spring, and the changing world around me testifies to the spirit within me.  It is all so very connected.  WE are all so very connected.  And on the days when we don't feel it, we believe it anyway.

You are part of me, and I am part of you. Draw back the curtain and let someone else bear witness to your life today.  For you are a part of us.

{You can catch more of my seasonal musings and see autumn decor here and winter decor here.)

Someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin & they will say, 'what have you done with your life?' & though there are many moments I think I'll remember, in the end, I will be proud to say, I was one of us.

(Brian Andreas, Storypeople)