Halfway through the morning, the weather changed. The lazy grey clouds were thrown off over the mountains like covers, and sleepy-eyed sky appeared.
Kya had already drawn a fluffy cloud on her weather chart, but no one minded the inconvenience of erasing it and starting over with a yellow-rayed sun.
I was going to have to find my sunglasses.
It was warm enough—just—to play outside without mittens and take one more stab at winning the argument with Mom about running around outside without a coat. It turned into the kind of day that makes the early lambs jump around in the field and compels dogs to roll in things they shouldn’t.
It was a day that felt new, like mercy.
Mercy is something I need. I have felt a little bit brown around the edges lately, a little too tired and buried a little too deep. I am back to my old mistakes of taking on too much and saying no to too little. All week I struggled to keep up in a race I never should have been running in the first place.
Little things got under my skin, like rocks, and I felt gravely. I said things to my husband I shouldn’t have said and didn’t really mean. It’s always easier if it’s his fault than if it’s mine. It’s always easier to feel trapped by him than to acknowledge the fact that I’ve imprisoned myself.
But I don’t think he knows how to build a cage as well as I do.
If there’s one thing I am good at, it’s walling myself up with too many commitments. I am good at finding ways to chain myself to the clock and the calendar and the to-do list. I am good at scrambling my priorities and fighting him when he tries to set me free and straighten me out.
I think that if I can build a cage, then I can get myself out of it. So I clench my teeth and set my resolve and make everyone miserable while I try to prove that I can do it.
The truth is, I can’t do it. Not well, not godly, not in a way that is healthy.
This last past week was not healthy.
But today was the kind of day that forces me outside. I have to hang something on the clothesline, even though nothing will dry. I untangled the bed from the flannel sheets and extra blankets which have held us captive since sometime in October. They hang head-down and penitent on the line.
It is good to be aired out, I think, and to start fresh.
I stand out in the yard and fill my lungs with the smell of the waking earth. I notice that the deeply hidden daffodils and tulips are beginning to push their way up through the dark and the dirt and the dead of winter. Their tender green shoots push aside the brown fallen leaves and stretch toward the new mercy of spring. They are dirty, still, from being so long in the ground.
But they are growing again, even after a season of dormancy and darkness.
I am a little dirty too, a little rough around the edges. But on this beautiful day of motherhood, I cling to the hope that God is not done with me yet. My sins may be chronic, but so is His mercy. He coaxes me out of the dirt and into the light. I am well aware that I have not done everything right or well or good. But I am also aware that God is in the business of making all things new—including me.