As I write this letter, sunlight streams through my window, and I find myself wondering when I might take a break, walk my dog, and spend a few precious minutes soaking up the sun. It has been this way for the past week or so, now that spring has definitively arrived in Boston. On Friday, we held our staff meeting outside, and just yesterday, we gathered around that same table, on the porch of 40P, for our weekly staff lunch. We know these spring days, before the heat and humidity of summer arrive in full force, are not to be taken for granted.
To be honest, spring in Boston has been a hard adjustment for me. After 10 years in Central Virginia, I have become accustomed to a more gradual spring, beginning in March when the forsythia and daffodils bloom, and rolling out gradually over the weeks and months -- red buds, then dogwoods, then cherry blossoms -- culminating in the explosion of azaleas and peonies in May. The cold and wet and mucky weather we experience in March (and April!) here in New England has necessitated some adjustments of my expectations. As Parker Palmer writes, “Before spring becomes beautiful, it’s plug-ugly, nothing but mud and muck.”
And isn’t this the truth of so many aspects of our lives? Before beauty and flourishing break through, we often find ourselves feeling stuck in the mud and the muck. This noticing seems particularly apt this week, as we prepare to celebrate the feast of Pentecost. Just fifty days ago, we donned our Easter best, polished the brass, and sang our “Alleluias” with the glee that comes at the end of our Lenten journey in the wilderness. We proclaimed, “the Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!” with confidence and joy. But the days between Easter and Pentecost can feel like those muddy days of early spring. We have spent time with the disciples in locked rooms, hiding in fear. In our own lives, perhaps we have learned that it can be quite hard to dwell in abundance, to hold on to the hope of resurrection, as we face the challenges of our daily lives. This weekend, we will be called once again into the abundance and magic of God. Just as the flowers and trees are bursting into life around us, the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon us with a strong gust of wind and pillars of fire.
And while the Holy Spirit first appeared in wind and fire, we continue to know her presence in quiet moments, too. We need only to take a deep breath to remember that the Spirit dwells within each of us, always. In this month’s reflections, alumna Tiffany Curtis reflects on the moments when the Spirit has appeared in her life, while fellow Meredith Wade shares her story of seeing the Spirit at work in the liturgy of Maundy Thursday.
This is a month of celebration and joy. We have travelled far together, and for that we are grateful. We hope you will join us in our celebrations at our two remaining Love Matters House Parties, this Saturday, and next Wednesday.
Yet even amidst celebration and joy, transition can be challenging. In these moments, we take comfort in the strength of our community, and remember the many ways that Spirit has made herself known to us. We rejoice in the beauty of Spring, and we give thanks for the mucky, muddy days that have led us to this moment.