Spring, though slow to come this year, is finally here. Where I live, spring’s arrival is marked by shimmering green leaves, flowering plum trees, brilliant white dogwood and bridal wreath, tulips and daffodils . . . and sunshine!
Rising temperatures seem self-regulated. Ever inching upward before plunging, sometimes as much as 40 degrees from day to day. Texas thunderstorms, faded from mind throughout the winter, rumble and splash lightening across the skies in regular intervals.
Mostly though, spring is about new life. Seemingly dead trees bursting with green leaves. Wildflowers popping up along roadways. Dried, crusty gnarled bulbs buried in the darkened soil, now send forth shoots inching their way toward the light. Resurrecting themselves year after year. Bringing beauty and color into the grey and empty world of winter.
This past winter in much of our country was unkind, filled with terrific storms and record snowfalls. Though missing out on snow, Central Texas was much colder than usual. And low temperatures in the low-teens over a stretch of days made me worry about our ferns. Yet when we finally uncovered them, the ferns stayed green for days, until winter finally took its toll. Brown crept onto green leaves, seemingly destroying much of each plant’s life. Our smaller asparagus ferns soon turned brown and brittle, but the larger leaf holly ferns seemed to have more minimal damage.
Each spring I cut back their decaying and broken fronds. This year was no different in process, but certainly in the amount of cutting it took . . . so what exactly is my point? As always, there were new leaves rolled up into a small ball near the earth’s surface. As always, there were small, thin fragile stalks beginning to unfurl. But there was something very different, and I saw it over and over in different ferns.
As the fragile rolled up leaves began to unfurl, I noticed some were curling themselves around a stiff older leaf stalk. Others were uncurling nestled underneath or leaning on a thriving leaf. As if in the harsher conditions of this year, the new ferns needed help surviving until spring truly comes in all of its glory, sunshine and warmth . . .
As Christ followers finding ourselves enduring the storms of life, I pray we have the privilege of huddling alongside another believer just ahead of us in the process or nestling into the wisdom and care of a seasoned mentor. I pray the sun begins to shine in our hearts. Things thaw, death gives way to resurrection, and the warmth of our Savior creates new life within our souls.