“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
A little over a year ago, my eight-year-old girl was crying in her closet on the morning we moved from our home in Greensboro to our new house in Greenville. Grace has always loved to create little hideaways. Piling blankets and pillows and toys and craft supplies into tiny spaces, she creates a little nest, a magical space just big enough for her body and her imagination. She had spent hours in that closet, dreaming, singing, telling stories, growing from a sweet four year old sharing a Curious George room with her baby brother to a spunky eight year old with a rainbow room (and closet) all her own. And now, she was leaving it. Forever. She was so sad, and so very brave.
“In the bulb there is a flower, in the seed an apple tree; in cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!”
Even as she wept for all that she would lose: her friends, her school, her climbing tree, - the physical reminders of so many of her memories – she was hopeful for what was to come. You see, Grace had been done this road before as a three-year-old leaving Ohio. She remembered her first friends, her first church and home, but she also remembered how much she came to love her new home. She knew it would be hard, but that she would make new friends, find new trees and swings, she would create many a lovely nest in her new home to dream and sing and grow.
“…In the cold and snow of winter, there’s a spring that waits to be…”
If you go into Grace’s room today, the whole thing has basically devolved into a hideaway. With six months of limited outside interaction, she’s built quite the nest of stuffed animals and books and tiny boxes full of colorful starburst wrappers. She has made some wonderful new friends from church and school, but I won’t say that this year has turned out like we hoped. Just as we were starting to form deeper connections at church and school and in the community, it was all snatched away by the pandemic. Suddenly, we all found ourselves hiding away. Weeping for what we were losing. Praying for courage to face a world radically changed and still changing.
“There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody…”
Just because we know it’s true, doesn’t mean it’s easy to live in the times of mourning and fear and loss. Our world is experiencing a radical shift. Our education system, our health care system, our government and even our churches are changing. But we know that death – even of ways of thinking and being and worshipping that we loved – is not the end. In fact, even as we weep, the Spirit is raising new life within our church, connecting us in new ways, giving us hope and courage to face what will come.
“…in our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity. In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity….”
When Rob found Grace in her closet last year, he didn’t force her to come out. He crawled right in with her. He held her as she cried and dreamed with her about her new home. We know that God is working and moving in all things because we have experienced it! When we connect with God’s word, when we pray, when we reach out to one another and crawl into that closet to honor both the death and the resurrection, we connect to the power of Christian community and Christian hope. We know that even as we live in this season of breaking down, God is already building what will be.
“…Unrevealed until it’s season, something God alone cane see.” – Hymn of Promise, Natalie Sleeth