The signs of Spring are everywhere now in our area. The trees are literally popping with evidence of life–leaves will soon be opening up to the sun. Early blooming bulbs have come, some have already gone because of our unusually warm weather this year. For someone like me, who sees evidences of God in just about everything I see (or imagine to be seeing), this is a truly wonderful time of year.
For me, I so look forward to this time of year, actually all the changes of the seasons are reminders to me of the order of Creation and the Creator. The vibrancy of colors among the brown grass is such a contrast. Brown, shriveled leaves left over from the fall and winter are tangled among the bright blooms of purples and yellows. (My favorite colors!)
Yet with this birthing of Spring comes birth pangs for me. As soon as the warm winds blow, my body reacts to the pollen and other allergens in the air. (For those of you who inhabit this Asthma-Allergy Belt, you totally understand, I know.) Soon the inhalers become my constant companions and I have to think twice before going outside to work in my gardens. The idea of taking a walk in the warm Spring air or even opening windows to the fresh air requires taking a calculated risk for me. How far can I walk before getting too winded and the wheezing takes over? Dare I walk to the park?
The other day, the warm winds blew in from the South and I had my warning that IT was coming. A month earlier than normal, but nonetheless, I’d had my warning to get ready. Inhalers full? Check. Mucinex on hand? Check. Prednisone refilled? Check. Allergy medicine? Check. I was ready. But not really. I refused to stay inside while all this beauty was bursting outside, and out I went.
I took pictures of my gardens after cleaning out the Winter coverings of dried leaves and old straw. Great mold producers. Ugh. But it looked so great once the beds were cleaned out. Trimmed the monkey grass and rescued several “lost” toys and sidewalk chalk that had hidden there through the Winter. I started taking stock of what seeds to try this year, which perennials were doing their thing or not. And basically just thoroughly enjoyed being out in the yard, getting my hands dirty in the moist dirt. Honest work. Fun work.
I have been paying for it ever since. Today I will add Levaquin to my battle array. That should help get me over this first round of blooming and blossoming. And waiting for the heavy rains to wash out the air for a few days. 🙂
But as I have struggled to breathe, and believe me, it is a struggle, I have also been thinking of Easter and Jesus on the Cross. You know, when Jesus died, the Bible says He breathed His last breath, that He gave up His Spirit. As I fight to breathe, it contrasts with the willingness of my Savior to GIVE UP BREATHING in order to bring me to life.
When my asthma is bad, it has become very frightening, fighting to stop coughing, to get the medicine into my lungs. This has been the worst year I can remember having, but…I have thought more and more about how Jesus willingly gave up His last breath. For me to live. His death made it possible for me to have a life truly worth living. I cannot imagine willingly breathing my last breath. Can you? It just boggles my mind.
When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” Having said this, He breathed His last. Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent.” And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, beating their breasts. And all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, seeing these things.