Author: Amy Ostwald
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Last week, on a warm and sunny spring day, I turned our thermostats to the “Off” positions with defiance. Summer was just around the corner! I stashed away my turtlenecks and my fleece pants — gleefully pulling out a few pairs of shorts and my sandals. With a surge of energy and some music in my ears, I got to work on a home project.
Ah, but I should have known better! Today is gray and damp and I am waiting for the rain to turn to snow. I have my fleece pants on again, and I had to turn on the heat. I want to hunker down and take a nap. I am tired of being cold. I’m twisting and twirling in the dance between winter and summer that we call spring— and this year, it seems to mimic the way I am feeling after a year of confronting COVID, racism, economic inequities, gun violence, and frightening anti-democracy movements.
Over the past few days, one part of me has wanted to fling the doors open, throw my arms up toward the blue sky, and do cartwheels: I am fully vaccinated, the family can gather for dinner again, the economy is rebounding, and a few measures of justice have been delivered. Change is coming. God’s grace is palpable.
Another part of me, though, acknowledges that COVID is still raging in other parts of the world, and that we have only just begun to address the social and political issues that have been exposed this past year… How can I possibly allow myself to be joyful? There is so much to do, and this harsh reality islike a cold blanket on my summer-time step. God help us.
This back-and-forth feels unsettling. I find myself yearning for a spiritual equilibrium, a state of peace where these two parts of me can dwell together. I will take a cue from Philippians 4 and let prayers of thanksgiving and prayers for change live together in the same few minutes of holy communion. This will be a sort of “Spring Training” for me, inviting both winter and summer to coexist within me.
Today I am reminded again that humanity is still struggling to manifest your love. With your strength, I will not turn my eyes away. At the same time, help me open to your warm divine light as I embrace signs of your healing and redemption. With thanksgiving, I allow my heart to be filled with joy as I witness creation coming alive again.