The hard, frozen ground protects them so they can be the first to pop out.”
My father was definitively credible in my young eyes. Likely more credible than most any other source of information in my life, but this confounded my trust. The Nebraska ground was covered with inches of snow and ice and cold and the tulip bulbs that outlined the garden were a distant memory.
Decades later, I have an annual renewal of doubt that there will be a spring thaw. In the outside world, and in the interior one. On Ash Wednesday, I was confident that Easter conversion was just 40 days away. Fervor, confidence and commitment showered me with trust in the process. In the middle of the journey, it seems less clear. Like those tulip bulbs that I doubted were being nourished below the concreted layer of rock solid soil, there is a gravitational pull to discard the resolve and yield to complacency.
Melting the frozen layer takes time – the layer that has gotten less alarmed with the daily reports of violence – the layer that expects inaction from those with the power to make change – the layer that expects less personal connection in the midst of more digital contact – the layer that waits for God to act like the tooth fairy instead of empowering the human race to be more human – the layer that prefers to binge-watch instead of determining the next right step.
Melting the frozen layer takes time, but Lent removes the layers. I discover the twinge of knowing that something else is required of me. As the thaw takes shape, I see the disparity between what I value and what I do – and I know that those tulip bulbs will never pop through the soil, nourished and done with fallow time, — unless I shovel the snow.
This week, I notice the thaw of the heart and the awakening of my thinking. For me, it is the simple act of the next right choice – and to trust what I cannot see.