Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Wasted Beauty, Wasted Hope

Several weeks ago, back in February, we had a couple of weeks that were unseasonably warm. Flowers began to bloom. Trees too. Gorgeous flowers too early in the year.
Welcome to life on a warming planet!

I mean they were beautiful, but the timing was all wrong. At least that's how it seemed to me.

Not long after these blooms appeared, we had a "snow storm." Two of them, actually. 

On the day that we had the snowpocalypse captured in the photo above, we lost power in our house for nine hours. NINE HOURS! It was half an inch of snow!!!

On the night before the snowmaggedon event captured below, I stayed in a hotel one block from my church because that's how worried we were that I wouldn't be able to get to church for me to complete my morning responsibilities that day. The most dangerous part about that solo slumber party was having to dodge the drunken millennials who were celebrating St Patrick's day a weekend earlier in the hotel bar. Well, that and the middle of the night fire alarm that forced all the hotel guests to walk down the stairs to the frigid outdoors. I had to walk down eleven flights - but because it was on the night we turned our clocks ahead, I didn't even get the credit on my iPhone pedometer because the walk registered in the hour that was lost! Oh well... The good news is that I survived the snownado.

Anywho... I spent a lot of time staring at the trees and flowers that I was convinced had blossomed and bloomed before their time and I was saddened by their beauty because I was convinced that they would die in an ensuing cold snaps. I was convinced that theirs was "wasted beauty." 
Wasted flowers that would die before spring even arrived. 
Wasted color because it wouldn't last. 
Wasted miracle because they would disappear before we would have the chance to marvel at them. 
What a waste! 
I found myself feeling anger because global warming was messing up my preconceived notions of when and how spring and color and beauty could and should arrive. I'm not exactly sure who I was angry at, but I was mad. And sad. And frustrated. And more than a little bit hope-deprived.

On one morning unnecessarily warm February morning, my husband and I went for a walk.
It was another "too warm day for February." 
Too many trees and too many daffodils were in bloom too early.
I murmured something snappy about "wasted beauty," and my preposterously patient husband said, "What's wasteful about it?" 

Great question. 

How can beauty be wasted when we all get to see it and bask in it?
How can the miracle of flowers blooming, over and over, year after year, be a waste?
There is so much beauty all around us. Between us. Among us.
There is color and brightness, joy and so much to celebrate.

Certainly there is deep suffering.
A dear friend, a young, vibrant mother of four children under the age of ten, has been diagnosed with kanswer - again! 
Another friend is awaiting DACA documentation that will allow her to get back to work.
Someone I was recently introduced to is recovering from a kidney transplant - at the age of 27.
War continues in too many places to name.
Gun violence kills too many people every single day.
Political unrest. Injustice. 
School segregation.
Fear of overt racism on the rise.
Hunger. Abuse. 
You can name more than I can.
Yes, there's a lot of pain happening in the world.

But in the midst of all of the heartache and heart break
in the midst of the fear, the loathing, and the sorrow,
there is so much beauty.

There are snowmen to build in the few hours before it all melts.

There are tasty meals to consume while reading about how to do biblical exegesis. Fun fun!

There are heart-breaking and hope-restoring exhibits to see at local museums.

There are lectures and question & answer sessions by inspiring people like Krista Tippett and Clint Smith to attend and take copious notes about.

There is new music to listen and dance to. (You rock, Lizzie! That's my niece, folks.)
There are letters to write. 
There are sermons to preach.

There is moan-worthy poetry to soothe your soul. 
There is Easter poetry to prepare you for celebration resurrection. 

There is love to make. Or at least mow into the front lawn.


There is grace to receive.
There is forgiveness to grant and to be granted.
There is hope to nurture.
There are friendships to deepen.
There are connections to make.
There are hands to hold.

There are puppies to wean and give to new families and train and love.
There are children and grandchildren to tend.
There are babies to give birth to and welcome into the family.

There are some podcasts that make you laugh and live better 
and some podcasts that make you laugh and live deeper.
There are flowers to gaze at and birds to listen to.

There are double yolked eggs to eat.
There is morning coffee to sip slowly.
There is warm lemon water to enjoy.

Thanks, Steve, once again, for snapping me out of my hope-challenged mood.
There is no such thing as wasted beauty.
No such thing as wasted hope.

Nothing is wasted.
None of it is wasted. 
Not one bit of it. 

Thanks be to God! 

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