Spring 5.0 is here. In the two weeks since we had that week of summer-like temperatures, we have had several snowfalls and plenty of nights below freezing. The first snowfall made quick work of the crocuses that had blossomed. The daffodils have weathered the below-normal temperatures, snow, hail, freezing rain and other winter-like gifts from above and seem to be doing well. The dandelions are flourishing and the grass is greening despite of several blankets of white over the past two weeks, as the snow melts quickly and provides moisture needed for growth. The growing daylight means the peonies and other perennials are emerging from their winter nap, even though the air that greets them may be a little nippy. Buds are beginning to spring forth from bare branches, though you have to look pretty closely to see them right now.
These signs of rebirth are all around us in nature, though when we still feel winter’s chill in the air or see snow flakes on the ground, we may doubt that spring is here. It has been nearly two months since the first robin sightings, and those birds have endured many more than the three requisite snowfalls since their return. We may struggle on those cold, cloudy days to trust that rebirth is indeed happening.
After three years of Covid winter, some of us may also struggle to believe that rebirth is happening in the world around us. Inflation, supply chain and staffing issues continue to linger despite the promise that the pandemic is behind us. Sometimes, just as in nature, we may feel like we take a step or two forward, only to take a step back.
At St. Anthony’s, we have yet to rebound fully from the impact of Covid, though there are signs of rebirth. This week, we welcomed back a group that was here for the first time in February. They were so pleased with their experience then that they immediately booked this week to come back. A group here last weekend had not been here since before Covid, and they were also very complimentary of their experience. They hope to return in November. These are signs of rebirth to be sure, yet we are impatient for more growth.
At part 2 of our team retreat on Monday, Steven challenged us to recognize how the changes Covid brought have impacted us personally, as a community at St. Anthony’s, and as a society. He also pointed out that for the community at St. Anthony’s, Covid was not the only change we have had to endure, to grieve, to adjust to in order to be reborn into a new life. In the past 10 years, we have had a significant change in ownership as well as changes in leadership, in staffing, in residents, in policies and practices. Each of these experiences can help us to adapt, to grow, even though they are often not comfortable at the time, like the nip in the air that greets the emerging plants, or the blanket of snow covering the greening grass and blooming daffodils. Sometimes we have to look pretty closely to see the signs of rebirth and growth, much like we have to look for the buds on the shrubs and trees right now.
For all the blessings we experience through these times of rebirth and growth, for the signs that give us hope when we doubt, and for the faith and trust to have patience with the unfolding process, we say Deo Gratias!