So I made a confession on Sunday morning from the pulpit: I talk to robins. The birds. Like, out loud. For whatever reason, since college whenever I see the very first robin of spring, I feel the need to greet it. Ya know, just let her know I'm glad they are back and hope they have a successful egg season and of course let them know that Penelope will never actually catch them so no need to worry about her incessant beagle barks. After service, one older man in my church (who sweetly calls me 'Preacher') said, "I don't know about that talking to robins stuff...might call for a psychiatric hospital!" He was totally joking of course and we laughed together at my quirkiness.
But no amount of teasing or chuckles will ever prevent me from talking to the robins, or stopping and evaluating tree buds on the side of the road or marveling over the random patches of daffodils that seem to pop all over around here. It's just all so lovely, so hopeful. And I just want to say thanks to God who is just so stinkin' creative and generous in his outpouring of love on us. Just like my new medicine (which seems to be doing a decent job thus far), I see those little robins and daffodils as a means of grace, as God smiling down at us and asking, "Do you like it? I made them with you in mind." So thank you, thank you, thank you.
On a pastoral note, there is another reason I love spring. It reminds me that even after a long winter when it seems like everything is dead and buried, there is always new life waiting beneath the surface. There are days when I wonder what in the world God is doing and what does God want to do in this church I pastor. I wonder if I'm up for the job, if I'm doing what God wants me to do, if I'm becoming the leader and shepherd God wants to shape me into. I don't always see life just blossoming up all over the place. A lot of times, it feels like there are a lot of wilted plants around me, parched for want of God's presence or choked by the weeds sin. So I wonder, God what are you doing?
And then I look outside and everything, and I do mean everything including the tree bark itself, is turning this fantastic shade of green. The tree on the side of my house that I thought for sure was on it's last leg is full of tiny buds, just waiting to burst into leaves. Perhaps it is the same with this congregation, these precious people and this community. Perhaps new life is just lurking below the surface. May it be so in my parish and in my heart.