Spring has not yet sprung but if you happen to live in a place that allows you to already catch a warming breeze randomly this time of year, then your heart can't help but pitter a little faster as you wait for the day when the temperature will more consistently hover above 60 and little green buds start to poke out on the branches of that one tree you always walk by but never seem to notice except in the spring when little green buds start to poke out on the branches.
Spring is eternal, I've concluded. Our longing for it starts in the doldrums of winter during those short, awful days when it's cloudy and there's barely a sunrise and then there's barely a day because it gets dark well before it should, like when we're still at our desk answering emails and waiting for spring. In those worst days of the year the weather is biting and the opposite of inviting. This is why we placed Christmas there. Having something inviting - like a meal or a home or a gift - keeps us sane when spring seems a lifetime away.
But not only is spring something forever set in the future, it is also something forever set in the past.
Spring is eternal in our mind and our hearts, the host of fond memories, especially the generic ones. Memories that are memories because of a moment and not a location always seem to use spring as the backdrop. You don't exactly remember the temperature or the weather that day you first met, but it was sunny enough and it wasn't cold. And even if your happenstance introduction happened in early March, it may have well be a tad warmer than sweater weather outside. Spring is new things, after all.
That birthday when she finally wasn't a "little" girl anymore. That call you'd been hoping for offering you the job. The publishing contract. College acceptance letters arriving. These are all spring moments, forever planted in our memory bank, the balance of which we are forever free to draw upon when we need a boost, perhaps in the abyss of a frigid winter, both physically and mentally. We can visit our eternal spring when we must, especially when our heart is breaking, our confidence waning, or our patience disappearing. Spring is so eternal that we may go there an unlimited amount of time and times without lessening its power or performance. Upon each visit, we will bask in the unbreakable newness of our eternal spring.
Trampoline flips as a kid. Hide and go seek matches in your backyard. Gooey chocolate chip cookies, steam still rising up while your impatient hands reach for one because they somehow taste sweeter when they're hot enough to burn something. Sleepovers. Makeovers. Road trips on a whim because you're young and when will you live this close to the beach again? Naps for the sake of napping (not because you're exhausted). Cooking something outdoors. Hikes and bikes.
These are all spring moments.
And so is companionship.
This is the deep spring we pray is eternal. Not just the newness of a relationship, but the relationship that is forever new each time we experience it, live and in the flesh and not just when our mind wanders there because we're lonely and the wine is gone and nothing good is on TV and it's cold outside. We want the relationship and the marriage and the togetherness that takes us to spring with each embrace and each conversation, each text and each meal. We want to be transplanted somewhere and yet stay here, arm in arm, eyes locked as we eat or read or parent or plan.
Our best relationships are spring moments, not because they last for but a short time, like the anticipation of a little green bud about to poke out, but because they forever create moments of hope that we may draw upon in any time of need or lack or want. This is the intimacy we long for, the vulnerability we're more than willing to risk, and the kind of person we want to be. We need the relationship that is an eternal spring for us, comforting us when we are together and when we are not.
And so each of us will long for that eternal spring until we find it, both deep within and so effortlessly without.