If the weather-watchers are correct, we’re due for snow
tomorrow and possibly more on Sunday. Snow
in March isn’t unusual, but it’s definitely unwelcome. Arriving just as the world starts to sing
its wake-up song, spring snow often feels like the last straw.
I’m doing my best not to check and double-check my weather
app, though I’m anxious to know how the snowfall will impact my work-life and
the kids’ school schedule. Friends
online are sharing weather predictions with accompanying proclamations of
despair and dismay. The more time I
spend online, the easier it is to believe spring will never arrive.
But the songbirds, the ones who now make daily inspections
of potential nesting places sheltered beneath our window awnings, tell a
different story. Something in them seems
certain of spring’s promise, despite the cold-again nights, the frost-filled
mornings. Intrigued by their
perseverance, I’ve been listening to them almost as much as I’ve been looking
online. I wonder what it is the birds sense,
something just a hairsbreadth away from my bumbling human perception.
The songbirds, of course, are not alone. The hens are laying like gangbusters, the dog
and cat have begun they’re annual shedding extravaganza (Lord have mercy), and the
tree branches bear red buds ready to burst at the slightest provocation.
This week I remembered something my Spiritual Director told me several
years back, when my kids were much younger and we were cramped in a small
apartment together all the dark winter long.
There was snow on the ground then too, spring seemed like a fairytale –
a nice idea, but nothing to stake your hopes on.
“Do you hear the birds?” she asked, as we sat together in
her sunlit meeting space. “They only
start to sing when they’re getting ready to build nests and mate.”
I took her word for it.
I allowed the birds to sing hope into my weary-with-waiting heart and I
too started to live like spring was just around the corner.
Maybe it shouldn’t be news to me that our hope, our faith,
our love, are so easily influenced by the voices around us. But most years I need reminders, just the
Being a person of faith means living in light of a reality that may
be just a hairsbreadth beyond our bumbling human perception and allowing that
reality to shape the songs we sing, the nests we build, the future we work to bring to fruition. And when we grow weary in faith it helps to tune into
the lives and voices of those around us who seem to hear and live a bit more
This week, Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, was one of those voices for me. Quoting from the
prophet Habakkuk, regarding the coming kingdom of God, Boyle says, “The vision still
has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and it will not disappoint; and if it
delays, wait for it. What we all want to
create and form is a community of kinship such that God might recognize it . .
. It shouldn’t surprise us that God’s
own dream come true for us – that we be one – just happens to be our own
deepest longing for ourselves. It turns
out, it’s mutual.”
If you find yourself also near despair – due to snow or otherwise – why not take 20 minutes to hear what Boyle has to say. His words point to realities just beyond perception and his life’s work continues to bring the kingdom into fulfillment.