On Bouncing Back

plants.jpgI think this every year around this time. I walk around my front yard and survey the plants, convinced that this is the winter from which they won’t bounce back. The two twiggy hydrangea bushes twitching in the cold wind look like they’re shivering. It is beyond my imagination to see a path from this cold, overcast day to the reality which will soon be spring – when their gorgeous blue and purple flowers will be the prize of my front yard. Each spring when they emerge I let out a sigh, realizing I have been holding my breath all winter wondering if they can do it again…if they’re resilient enough to survive another winter.

I learn so much from plants, from gardening. In a society that values and expects the proverbial flowers to always be blooming, I am reminded that seasons of the year are a gift. It’s not always spring. Our plants and soil need the winter to rest and prepare for the next fruitful season. At mine & Eric’s wedding my cousin sang Every Season by Nichole Nordeman, which is still today one of my favorite songs. I’ve included the full lyrics below and a link to listen online. She beautifully describes the gifts and wonder inherent in each passing year, particularly the surfacing of new plant life after the winter’s frost.

I think there are parallels for working moms here. The process of being pregnant, giving birth, bonding with baby, and returning to work (which I’ve now done twice) has recreated me in new ways both times. With Aubrey it made me stronger, yet more vulnerable too. With Emma it changed my body more significantly, but also strengthened new muscles. Both times I found myself thinking with certainty, “this time I won’t bounce back”. The fatigue will never lift, the belly pooch will never go away, my brain will always feel fuzzy.

And then I remember the lessons nature is always teaching. It’s wired into the way life was invented to recreate, again and again and again. So while I wait for spring this year, I’ll decide to believe that new life is around the corner.

Every Season by Nichole Nordeman Listen HERE 

Every evening sky, an invitation
To trace the patterned stars
And early in July, a celebration
For freedom that is ours
And I notice You
In children’s games
In those who watch them from the shade
Every drop of sun is full of fun and wonder
You are summer
And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice You when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and what’s to come
You are autumn
And everything in time and under heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white, all creation
Shivers underneath
And still I notice you
When branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death, You open doors for life to enter
You are winter
And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be
As You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring

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