Signs of Life

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by Martha Spong

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28, NRSV)

When I was a little girl growing up in Virginia, I expected spring but did not appreciate it fully. Surely the Easter season would be filled with the sunshine of jonquils, the fragrance of lilies, the buzz of bees around the azalea bushes. Surely the crape myrtle in our backyard would blossom, its pink flowers adorning a slender, pale silver trunk. I relied on these things.

In my twenties, I moved to Maine, where I learned the hard way that spring could not be taken for granted. March went by, a season of muddy snow melt adorned by bare forsythia branches. April came and went, bringing rain and more mud and, in a good year, crocuses peeping through the fresh snow. What happened to Easter flowers? You could buy them at the florist, and we adorned the church with them, but outdoors remained grey.

Finally, as May matured, I smelled a heady fragrance: lilacs. I began to see them everywhere around Portland. Here was a pink one, and there a white. Some purples are pinkish, but the most beautiful are almost blue. When their blossoms fell, suddenly we had summer; our brief Spring had passed.

I found this discouraging at first, but over the 25 years I lived in the Northeast, I came to treasure the signposts of our short spring: each eager crocus, each hardy tulip, each home-forced branch of forsythia made its effort. For some of us, the Resurrection will always be a work-in-progress.


How goes your Easter season? Are the great 50 days lavish and abundant? Or are you poking your head up cautiously like a tiny purple crocus? Look around your world today for signs of new life. Take a picture of something that surprises you and share on our Facebook or Twitter sites with #signsoflife

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