Celebrating Life….

It is Easter weekend and the weather is absolutely perfect. Spring seems to have finally arrived to stay. The sun is shining, trees are popping out new leaves every day, flowers are blooming and Dandi the Desert Tortoise is awake and ready to demolish the new weeds and flowers growing in his garden.  After a good soak in his water dish that is!

With spring in the air it comes the promise of new life. New relationships. Everything seems possible as the earth awakens from its dark winter nap.  I have always thought there was a reason for the fact that Valentine’s Day happens right as spring begins to arrive. To remind us that love is still possible if we only look hard enough to find it. I know its because that is  St. Valentine’s birthday but it always seemed just so convenient to me.

All of nature sees spring as the beginning of new life. Animals seek mates. Birds begin building nests. Bees pollinate the trees and flowers everywhere they go. Its the promise that life will continue despite all the bad things that happen.

The world is not the safe place it use to be when I was growing up. Terrorists have crossed into countries that have had a history of peace and have blown airports and theaters up in their effort to cause chaos and fear in people who are innocent of any crime other than to exist.  Why? To bring pain and suffering to lives that have never done anything to them?  There is no rhyme or reason to it. Other than to bring fear to a world that already has its fair share of negative things going on.  Children are starving to death in third world countries because they cannot produce enough food to feed the population.  Genocide is a horrible reality in several countries and for what reason? The hatred is overwhelming and the reasons behind it are murky at best.

And yet the sun still shines on us every morning. In America that pain and suffering is far removed. Or is it? I drive a city transit bus every day through the streets of Small Town USA.   And every day I see countless homeless sleeping in doorways, on the sidewalk, in parks or wherever else they can find a place they feel safe. Shopping carts are no longer their item of choice to haul their belongings with them and most have dilapidated baby strollers instead. Bicycles with hand-made trailers are also popular as they go from alley way to alley way, digging through other people’s garbage looking for recyclables they can cash in for money.  The lines for food at our parks are filled with men, women and children who would not have lunch every day if not for the generosity of the local churches.  Out shelters are full of people who have lost their homes and most everything else because of a downward turn in their fortunes.

What I find to be the most heart-breaking fact of all is that many of these men are disabled Vets. They gave everything and then some for their country and yet now that they need help they can’t seem to get it. We just built a beautiful new VA clinic here in town. Yet I still hear stories from them how they are just not getting all the help they need. My god son is a veteran of the war in Iraq as is my little brother. Neither of them will ever be the same again. My brother is medically retired at the age of 30. My god son goes to college and rides his motorcycle on cross-country adventures as he works to exorcise the demons he has in his head and heart. They are a couple of the fortunate ones who are getting some help, but what about these older guys who served in Viet Nam? Where is the help they were promised? How can we ask  our young people to step up and serve out country if we don’t step up and give them the support and care they deserve when they need it?

So yes spring is here. Easter Sunday is tomorrow when we celebrate the miracle of a risen Savior. A man who was killed by those who feared Him and the changes He was  bringing to their way of life. That seems to be the human reaction to anything they don’t understand.  Fear it? Kill it…  Yet despite that fear and ignorance Life conquered Death and every spring that age old battle is celebrated as the stark winter landscape comes bursting back to life with a joy that is contagious.

So today I will celebrate. I will celebrate life and joy. I will celebrate new relationships as well as old and be grateful for both in my life.  I will embrace the warmth of sunshine and love–one to warm my heart and one to warm my soul. I will believe that good will win out in the end and love conquers all.

“In the end there remains Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is Love…”