Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay with me.”
Snow fell during my March retreat, swirling, driven white upon the spring-green and
brown world. Flat and thin, large flakes
like communion wafers dissolving on the sun-warmed tongue of
the earth. It lay in patches,
queen-ann’s-lacing the woodland path where the first shoots sprung up and tiny,
white flowers dotted.
I couldn’t help but smile, for surely God was laughing –
laughing at our springing forward eagerness, our expectation that the turning
of the seasons might be rushed along through impatience. We were ready for spring, but the stillness
of winter crept in among us, bringing its gentle silence and heavy, dripping
As snow fell, heaven whispered, “Stay here, just a little
longer. There’s more to be found here in
the depths of this silence, more to be gathered.”
* * *
I know this snow won’t last, it’s here and gone before the day is done like manna, so much bread falling from heaven’s cloudy eye. But there’s nothing more painful to me than being asked to stay
where I would rather not. Give me the
command to “get up and go” and I’ll be ready, bags packed, at your beck and call. But ask me to stay and watch awhile and I, like the disciples, would
prefer a dark and restless sleep to the tearful wrestling with that which I
did not, would not, chose.
Yet here we are, days into spring, and snow is falling still,
heavy and wet, pillowing everything under gentle curves. The birds don’t seem to mind, busy as they are and singing
too, confident in what’s to come. They believe, as all earthly creatures must, that
the world will turn again, rolled back like a giant stone as life emerges.
* * *
Stay awake my friends, stay awake and watch awhile. Do not fear the long dark night for even now
the world itself is tilting, leaning toward the edge of winter and the end of our waiting. Outside my window the trees’ heavy
white robes of snow are sliding to the ground where they lay, like burial shrouds,
cast off, empty.
Remain here, stay and listen awhile and you too might hear the moment the melting
begins; one single drip followed by a chorus of dripping, dropping,
living waters as death is again defeated, transformed, until all that
remains are the shining droplets, a million sparkling crystals hung like jewels
on the tree of life.