I present to you not only Friday Five, but Friday Ten...I'm doing a makeup Friday Five from last week:
This Friday's five questions first. RevGalPal Songbird writes:
My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. Song of Solomon 2:10-13
In the late, late winter, as the snow begins to recede here in Maine, we begin to look almost desperately for signs of spring, signs of hope that the weather has turned and a new day is on the horizon. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Easter and Spring twine inextricably, the crocuses and daffodils peeking through the Earth as we await the risen Christ.
Share with us five signs of hope that you can see today or have experienced in the past.
1. This week I witnessed the year's first turkey buzzard and first pair of sandhill cranes. Yeah, I know, a turkey buzzard doesn't seem like a sign of hope...but it's nice to see the annual return of all our migrant birds, even the relatively unlovely ones. (And vultures may be unlovely up close, but high in the air they are poetry in motion.)
2. The tulips around our backyard wishing well (the clever disguise built around our household wellhead)are just starting to peek above the ground.
3. I have experienced some really quality fellowship moments in our church over the last couple of weeks. Our Gaelic-speaking friends talk about the good craic of a gathering, when there's a kind of positive synergy happening; that's kind of what I was feeling. Our congregation has its ups and downs from year to year; I've lately felt a bit of "up" sharing supper and worship with our people.
4. Our house is -- slowly but steadily -- rising from the winter of chaos into a springtime of order and potential, as we tackle a room-by-room sorting/cleaning/integration of our household belongings.
5. Vocationwise, I'm also feeling the power of potential, after several weeks of detoxing...the excitement of learning new things, with a little positive restlessness thrown in, and a rediscovery of my intelligence and competence as an adult.
From last week's Friday Five:
1. Did you give up, or take on, anything special for Lent this year?
I've taken on the daily discipline of the Daily Office, and gave up the "giving up." I've also made readjusting my attitude toward a frustratingly antagonistic individual a Lenten project.
2. Have you been able to stay with your original plans, or has life gotten in the way?
Yes; which is to say, I have been much more gentle with myself about seeing Lent as a journey, not a to-do list.
3. Has God had any surprising blessings for you during this Lent?
I am beginning to be better able to remind myself of the humanity of the aforementioned antagonist. I'm also happy to be reconnected to the practice of using a breviary, even in my admittedly casual way.
4. What is on your inner and/or outer agenda for the remainder of Lent and Holy Week?
If anything more, an internalizing of a daily fixed prayer practice, so that I "just do it" every day.
5. Where do you most long to see resurrection, in your life and/or in the world, this Easter?
Living as we do in an area of the country that has been "recessed" and "depressed" long before our current financial troubles, I would love to see not only a collective feeling of hope and new beginnings here, but also a change in individuals' and families' priorities as they learn to navigate in a new era. At the risk of falling into cliche', we have an opportunity to become either better or bitter; I hope that, like my parents' generation, we become better because of our shared experience.