To everything, there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; A time of war, and a time of peace.
Spring, as we make our way out from under a brutal, long, and hard winter, the weather that left us feeling almost at the end of hope that spring would actually arrive. But it has. My friend can’t understand why I crave spring so badly. She sees mud and yard work. I see potential. New life springing forth. I delight in the way the trees start the season looking so worn out. So broken. But just when I can hardly stand to think of any more cold or look at the gray and dead looking yard, I can see the minute speck of hope. Buds. Some plants, trees and bushes will not survive the brutal cold winter. They will become part of the soil again to nourish new growth through it’s death. It will clear the way for light to hit the new shoots of green that were once hidden and overcome by the shadows of yesterday’s bigger foliage.
Seasons, and especially spring, resonate with me deeply. That desire to see new emerge from old. The anticipation is hard but my eyes long for the almost overnight burst forth of green, followed by big splashes of fragrant purple plumes from my lilac bushes. I try not to rush this season. It is joy and it feeds my senses on so many levels. Daily reminding myself, “Don’t rush it away. Be present. Try not to worry about it’s departure. Enjoy it now.”
Much like the seasons of nature, our home also carries the remnants of seasons endured. Early this spring we decided to tear down, sand, refinish, repaint, empty, and recover our whole main floor. We didn’t enter this project thinking- “lets gut and rebuild.” It just became easier to do as we began to peel back the first layers. Unearthing and physically throwing out things that were bringing pain (acknowledged or not) in their existence in our home. Gone. Shredded. Tossed. Making way for us to reimagine our space. Removing other things that have entwined and intertwined and sometimes choked out the peace. These maybe began as good things and ideas but now have outlasted their purpose.
Every few years you have to prune or sometimes rip out and remove shrubs as they are no longer healthy and beautiful. They become unruly and overgrown. Ugly remnants of their once practical purpose in that space.
We had floors marred by years of dog claws, furniture moving and life happending. We had walls with worn areas and gouges from the accidental brush-bys. We had areas untouched after being set aside during a long season of understandable uncertainty or busyness. Or Pain.
We are rolling up our sleeves. Throwing away things I thought might become healthy and useful again but after a while began to stifle like weeds, choking out new growth. Things that after all this time, have yet to regain any purpose in my life- or anything worth taking up space in my home. They became distractions from seeing the beautiful potential buried underneath.
The crafts and projects that I thought I would start or complete. Now the ink pads are dried out. The paper curled. The motivation changed. I can still remember when we decided to remove the playset from its space in our yard. It was so bittersweet. But removing it allowed for a new planting in it’s place. Now I can barely picture the playset residing in that space. Bonus, some sweet little girls I know get to enjoy this in their own yard.
Looking back to the last time we did a project like this, life was different in many respects. We were still very much in daily parenting. Now our daughters are thriving and independent adults. So as we unearth old crayons and school supplies- it is ok to toss them or donate.
I had so many visions of what this season of life could look like- career-wise. Socially. All have become simplified versions today. Grieve them and release them. Make room for the new growth. Once upon a time, some items were boxed up. Now time has rendered them useless.
The beautiful candle or soap that was saved for a special occasion. Now have lost their smell and color.
It has been years since we took on a project like this together, I was different then. Not on the cusp of a new decade since my birth. (Today, definitely over the hump of the middle of my life.) I’ve experienced more than my share of hard but feel in some ways wiser and more empowered because I went through them.
I’ve also faced my mortality and am at peace with it- be it months, years, decades. Freer to honestly ask what I would wish to leave as a legacy one day. Honor that. Make space and time for that. Remove what gets in the way.
All this to say that I feel like I’ve been trudging through the long cold winter. Spanning years. It’s time to shake off the dust, cast off the broken, rake out the weeds, and stones.
Reclaim what it was meant to be. Healthy. Inviting. Life breathing. Bright. Cheerful. Yes, the scratches and scuffs will happen again. But my soul needs to create something new and beautiful. A fresh coat of paint. Rearrange the furniture. Remove the heavy drapes. Cover and reinforce the areas that have been revealed as vulnerable with sturdy tile.
It is hard to be patient. I can see the possibilities and it is hard to sit in the necessary process it takes to do it “right.” I can’t rush the process, I am reminded. I am learning that sometimes you have to make peace with the open blank space before you discover what should be invited back in or not. Maybe the old furniture I loved no longer has a place. Maybe it needs to be retired. Wall and floor coverings will not mesh with the new paint. Maybe they can bring another the smiles and joy they once provided here.
Breathe it in. Be patient with the process so that I won’t miss the new potential waiting to reveal itself. It will happen.
But I need to be present and Remember this feeling.
Trust that the new spring will come. It always does.