Someone told me they read somewhere that our midwest spring is the coldest, wettest, and most disappointing and lousy spring in 40 years. I did not need any news article to bring me up to speed on this topic-I have been living through it. Our spring has been anything but spring. Lingering cold, and non stop rain-terrible. The winter lingered on through March, and way into April. The magnolia flowers were over in two days-the crosus and hyacinths were nothing much to look at. Yesterday it was 80 degrees and windy-I could see my tulip petals browning on the edges. The next 6 days weather report calls for 5 days of rain. But have I lived through anything remotely resembling the devastation, distruction and displacement dealt to the people of Japan via an earthquake and tsunami of catastrophic proportions? Never. I think about those Japanese familes regularly-their lives turned up side down. Family members who perished. I cannot begin to imagine what it must have been like to live through it, survive, and then start over. I cannot imagine the collective grief-so many people died. My spring troubles are less than nothing by comparison.
My less than ideal spring, could it begin to compare with all of those people, homeowners, farmers and gardeners whose homes, fields and landscapes have been flooded and ruined by the Mississippi River overflowing this spring – not a chance. I have never experienced this level of natural disaster, ever. Have I ever seen a tornado bearing down on my neighborhood, as Tuscaloosa Alabama just endured-no; never. Just today, Joplin Missouri-devastated by deadly weather. My weather has been exasperating, disappointing, irritating and dissatisfying- nothing more. Given that most everything I have lost to bad weather can be replaced or fixed, I ought to be swimming in patience, as my patience has never really been tried. The disasters I see others endure, teaches me much about what the word patience really means.
Having patience does not mean the willingness to wait for a few moments, a few days, or a new season. It means the willingness to start over, recreate and remake – from the beginning. If the day ever comes that I have to do that, I will feel entitled to whatever feelings might surface. But until then, I will try to remember that I have vast unused stores of patience at my disposal.