The week has begun. It actually started yesterday with the celebration of Palm Sunday. Holy Week. As a Christian, this week is one of the most important aspects of my faith. And right now, I don’t have a lot of words. No, my words elude me. I don’t have words for what Jesus did on the cross for me. For you. For all of us. Because the words are written as perfectly as they can be right in the Word – the Bible. And how can I express it any better than that?
So you won’t find many words this week here at Mama’s Empty Nest. Because I am speechless that a Savior would leave the glory of heaven to come to earth and face what He did just to save my soul. And yours.
I have no words for the agony of the cross and the miracle of the resurrection. No words. But if pictures paint a thousand words, I can do that. I can depict my thoughts, my feelings, my words with my photos. So in a deviation from the norm, that’s what you will see this week – photos with very few or no words.
May they help you contemplate this holy week if you are a believer in Christ and if not, may they lead you to come to know Him.
I can feel it. I can smell it. I can see it slowly emerging.
I’m on the threshold. I’m waiting and anticipating. I’m eager and hopeful. I stand at the doorway, the front entrance to my cozy nest of a home, and when I open the door to the outside, it’s true that chilly air rushes in to envelop me, yet still it is there. There’s a hint of it, a whisper, a trace.
Yes, it’s a starting point. A point that promises me that something will happen, something will take place, something will transpire. And something will change.
I stand at this threshold. The door is opening although it seems like it is doing so in the slowest way possible. But each day, despite the temperatures below usual, the rainy and overcast skies devoid of sun, I know it is coming.
My threshold for waiting might be nearing an end but I know I’m impatient. I don’t like to wait. I don’t like to wait too long. And it’s been a long, long waiting period and I’m so willing for change.
So I bravely step over the doorsill onto my front porch. And I pause because I sense it is so near. I inhale and breathe in the scent of it. It’s almost here, yes it’s almost here!
And as I step off the porch with the white railing onto the firm footing of the concrete sidewalk, my hope springs forth. I venture off the walkway into the soft and rain saturated ground, sinking just a little which prompts me to look down at my feet. A few slivers of green can be seen pushing their way through the lifeless-looking dullness of our yard. Newly rejuvenated grass is awakening from its dormant season – that long, long cold winter.
I tentatively take a few more steps, peeking around the shrubbery, scanning the woody brown mulch and almost holding my breath. And then I spy it! It’s here! A harbinger of spring!
The very first brilliant sunshine-colored crocus has bloomed in all its glory. And suddenly, it doesn’t matter that I’m shivering just a little without my jacket. It doesn’t matter that the sunshine isn’t quite as strong and plentiful as I’d like it to be.
What matters is I’ve stepped over the threshold from winter to spring. This little cheerful sign warms my heart with promises of good things to come. And as my eyes take in that little patch of ground, I spy more are popping up to join the party as well. Soon the white, dark purple, and light purple ones will join that little yellow flower in a flourish of color amidst the monotony of bleakness that has held me in its grip for so long.
And it occurs to me that it’s time I step over yet another threshold as well. I’ve been as dormant as my surroundings since I lost my job and along with it, my bearings, back in the fall. That event sent me into a tizzy at first and then into retreat. I rested all winter under a blanket of latent sorrow just as cold and unforgiving as the snow that covered our yard for months.
But it’s time to throw off the cover, time to move on, time for the promise of hope and renewal. It’s time to step over the threshold into something new. It’s time for spring – in more ways than one!
There must be potential for me on the horizon and this week’s photo challenge – threshold – reminds me of that. So I’m stepping over the threshold with a little yellow blossom leading the way. I don’t know where the path will lead me yet but I will stop and smell the flowers along the way and capture what I can with my trusty camera at my side.
“Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold.” ~ W. Eugene Smith, photographer
Well, stick a fork in me and call me done. Done with winter that is! It’s unreal that it snowed AGAIN and this time we received about 18 inches of snow! So much snow, we could hardly get the cars out of the garage this morning. And hubby had to shovel a path to get my car out so he could maneuver the bright green John Deere garden tractor with the jaunty yellow snow plow attached on it out of the garage to dig out the driveway.
What?? How could this be? It’s April for crying out loud!!
It sure is. April Fool’s Day to be exact. When our three offspring were youngsters, they used to try to fool Papa and me with cute little jokes or pranks. “Mom, there’s a spider on your head!” one would cry at breakfast. And I would give my best performance of shrieking and making frantic motions through my hair to flick that ‘spider’ off. A peal of laughter would ensue and the kids would yell, “April Fools!”
Fun stuff. At least it was back then. Some years I would prank them first. And we would laugh and continue on our merry way for the day. There’s something about April Fools, even if the jokes don’t come off quite right, that brightens our outlook. Maybe it’s because we’re shedding a long, winter season and the lightheartedness of April Fools Day puts us in the mood for spring.
And this year, we are SO ready for spring! Which reminds me….that first paragraph I wrote up there at the beginning of this post and that picture? April Fools!! The photo is from February 2010 when we really did get 18 inches or more of the white stuff. Yesterday we did NOT get any snow and it was a most spring-like sunny day with temps near 60 degrees. Finally!
So Happy April Fool’s Day! I hope I didn’t fool you so much that you believed my little prank, but I do hope you’re on your way to better weather with a spring in your step and a smile on your face. And that’s the truth.
“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
“Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you’re just a reflection of him?” ― Bill Watterson (author/artist of Calvin & Hobbes)
Sometimes I gaze at my reflection in the mirror, not a puddle, and wonder “who is that anyway?” I don’t spend much time primping and looking at my likeness because I’m a bare minimum person when it comes to makeup and hair. A little dab here, a touch of color on the cheeks, some gel or mousse worked into the hair to keep those curls bouncy – the ones that sprung up in middle age (where did they come from?) – and away I go.
But when I really peer into the looking glass, I almost don’t recognize myself. Where did that young girl with the straight, long hair parted in the middle and the thin freckled face disappear to? I still feel like her inside but the outside tells me she’s gone and this rounder, paler, older version has replaced her.
That’s what it’s like to reach middle age – this downslide to 60. One day you’re a teenager, the next the cashier at Ross Dress for Less is asking if you qualify for a senior citizen discount. One day you’re a frazzled, way too busy young mother with three tots in tow, the next you’re wandering around an empty nest house trying to decide whether you should clean today (not that it needs it) or just sit in your comfy chair in the family room and read that stack of library books waiting for you on the coffee table.
This transformation gives you pause. It sounds so cliché but really, how did all of those years zoom by so quickly? But mostly, at least I find it so, reaching this point in life offers you time for reflection and not just the kind you catch when you glance at a mirror.
Reflection. At my age, that word triggers my mind to recall lyrics to a song from the 60’s made popular by Diana Ross and The Supremes:
Through the mirror of my mind
Time after time,
I see reflections of you and me
Reflections of the way life used to be
It’s true, I do reflect often about the way life used to be. Maybe it’s just the realization that I’ve lived the majority of my life already that prompts this introspective mood. Maybe it’s just that empty nest thing. Maybe it’s just that since both my parents and my in-laws passed away, Papa and I are in the older generation now. Or maybe it’s just that I actually have the time, the solitude, and the quietness to reflect. Whatever it is, I find myself doing so often.
So when I received notification that this week’s photo challenge was reflection, I realized I had both the photos and the thoughts roaming around in my head to represent this word. Now before you think I’m going to turn all gloomy and morose longing for things of my past or whining about my present as an empty nester, let me assure you I’m not. But, I do think you have to reflect on what’s past in order to figure out where you want to go in the future.
Sometimes rainy days give me pause for reflection which is why I chose this photo of reflections on my deck one stormy day. But more often, I am just as reflective on sunny days which is why I published the picture above. For the most part, that photo represents my reflective moods – they are interesting, have different facets to them, and attract my attention.
I don’t think of the past with sadness; instead, I remember it with joy and anticipate the future in the same way. Life is entirely different for me now then it was when I was that idealistic, young girl dreaming of her future. But this life I’ve been given, all stages of it, has been fulfilling because my past, present, and future are linked to three aspects: faith, hope, and love.
For me, faith, hope, and love come from believing in and knowing a Savior. Because of that, I strive to reflect them in my actions, my speech, and my writing. Hopefully, it’s His reflection others see when they look at me.
And I attempt to inspire others to reflect on Him. When you look in your mirror of life, does faith hold you up no matter the circumstances? Does hope carry you through? Does love fill your heart?
What I’ve learned through my times of reflection is this: you may try to hold tightly to your past or only live in the present here and now, but one thing is certain. A future awaits. While none of us knows what the future may bring, I do know one thing – someday, I’ll see everything clearly without a mirror and I won’t need to pause in reflection.
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:11-13 New Living Translation (NLT)