All of a sudden, everything is green.
After a dark winter and an onslaught of sleet, followed by a Texas-sized snowstorm that snapped out our power and taught us all the fear of the cold…I looked outside today without my glasses and just saw big clumps of green on a blue background.
Springtime. My boots make my feet too hot and I don’t need my coat. It’s like the freezing nights never happened.
I didn’t write about “Snowvid”, the winter storm and electrical power crisis that turned our medium-sized city into an apocalyptic wasteland full of stranded cars and freezing, dark houses, because it was one of my greatest nightmares. I watched the numbers on the thermostat drop while I huddled with Andrew under a pile of blankets…we turned on a flashlight and wished we’d collected camping equipment like everyone else, while my son fluttered his hands in the dark, suggesting “let’s make shadow puppets.” We packed up the car and inched down packed roads towards my parents’ house, where our entire family sheltered for a week. All over Texas, pipes burst. Big, breezy houses full of cheerful people became dark and frigid and tense.
I wrapped Andrew in blankets and prayed…and today he’s playing on the playground in short sleeves. It really ended…I wasn’t sure it would.
And the winter of the pandemic is slowly ending. People are going out. People are posting pictures of their vaccination cards and reuniting with their friends, going shopping and having big family dinners.
This time last year, I was feeling an invisible wave get closer to our town, teaching school online and lysoling our mail. Andrew’s birthday was his parents and a screen full of smiling, heartbroken relatives. This year will be different.
For me, it’s hard to describe the way this feels, but I’ll try.
I’m not as happy as I thought I would be—sure, my whole body breathed a sigh of relief when teachers were eligible for vaccines, and I’m glad to be so warm every day, to feel like I don’t need so many layers of armor against the cold. Our year of stress and fear seems to be ending…sort of.
But I think it’ll be a long time before I feel normal again. I’m going to count the inches between me and other people for a while…I’m still scared I’ll forget to wash my hands. I’ve gotten great at opening doors with my elbows. I feel naked without a mask. And I’m still looking at the case numbers every day.
But it’s slowing down. It really did slow down.
The sun came back to grow the grass and cover the fields with bluebonnets. And in one week, it will be Easter.
I thought that once spring came, I’d fly out of the house like a caged bird. I thought I’d sing joyful hymns to God for his deliverance and shed these fears like a heavy coat.
I won’t. But it’s so weird when your (tiny) faith really becomes sight.
This time last year, we were petrified. And now, we’re hopeful.
As a Christian, you’re expected to believe that the long night will turn to dawn…that Sunday will come. And it seems so far away. But I think I’ve felt it happen this year…I’ve felt the long dark of anxiety and fear and practical steps to be taken while we wait. And now, there is hope. There is light. Everyone can see it.
I guess it’s easier to believe in that now.