This wonderful article was submitted by Fritzy Ritz. Thank you, Fritzy, it is lovely, and helps all of us to herald the coming season of spring! Congratulations! You are our first guest blogger at the All Saints Blog!
It was a perfect pre-Spring weekend, the kind that firmly declares winter has lost the battle of the seasons. The sun was out. Temperatures were firmly entrenched in double digits. And daffodils began to poke their little green spikes toward the heavens..
Who could sit still with such abundant joy?
On this very weekend, my dog and I were invited to visit a friend's lovely home a good distance from here. I cleared my schedule, and so did the dog, because we are both fans of spontaneous joy.
Upon arrival, we happily saw that spring was not limited to just our neighborhood. The hound jumped into the river and swam happily as if it was August. I danced a mambo beneath the tall, budding trees that swayed in the warmish breezes. Songbirds provided the soundtrack as they chirped their most sensual tunes to prospective mates. This was, indeed, the day the Lord had made and we were definitely among those who would rejoice and be glad.
Our frenzied activity did not stop at sunset. My friend surprised me with tickets to the theater. We had to drive quite a distance to get there, much of it through two lane highway that wound through forested hills. We zipped through the countryside with no problem, and arrived at the theater still quite revved up from the day. Our seats were in the front row, close enough to see spit flying from the actors' mouths.
What could be better?
The play could have been better, for one thing. The script was about a dysfunctional upper middle class family who moaned over lost dreams and existential angst. The entire play took place in a well-appointed parlor complete with fully-stocked, in constant-use bar. Think “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” but without the cheerful optimism. This was not the sort of thing one wished to endure with springtime in the air.
The only high point, for me, was the drunk heckler in the audience. “Shut up,” he shouted during one particularly long monologue. “Quit complaining,” he yelled during another. My friend and I exchanged glances only once during this chaos, for fear we would bust out giggling and make things worse.
During intermission, we stepped outside to enjoy the night air and share a few giggles. As luck would have it, the heckler found us.
“Did you hear me in there?” he asked excitedly. “They told me not to yell anymore or I'd be thrown out.”
“Wow,” I said, for I could think of nothing else to say.
At this point, the heckler's mood instantly changed. He hung his head a bit and shuffled his feet. He pouted, “I don't like this kind of play. I like comedies a lot better.”
We agreed with him.
“I don't know,” he said again as he raised his head toward us. He looked confused. “Maybe this is what rich people do, talking about their feelings all the time. I don't like to do that.”
He sighed a long sigh. “If someone comes up to me and tries to talk about their feelings, I tell 'em to shut up. If I did that with my buddies, they'd tell me to shut up, too.”
I wanted to tell him that he just confessed his feelings to us, but kept silent for fear he'd tell me to “shut up.” It was a wonderfully hazy springtime moment.
Our heckler friend kept his silence throughout the rest of the play. This, of course, made the production completely tedious. If not for the amusement of actor spit flying across the stage, I might have taken up the heckling tasks. By the final curtain, we were ready to race out of parking lot and zip back through the hills to get home.
It was then we discovered the parking lot was blanketed in fog. This was not a light fog, but a pea soup so thick it made it difficult to find the car. Springtime sucked enormous amounts winter moisture from the ground and suspended it in the air. Here was a visual testament springtime's transformational power.
That was all well and good for the earth. But we had to drive thirty miles in this fog, on a two lane highway. We had to travel alongside other similarly road-challenged drivers through areas where deer often frolic. There was no shortcut, no easy path, nothing to do but take the journey moment to moment.
Once we resigned ourselves to the conditions, we crept along the highway. We downplayed the potential for doom as we talked about the day we just experienced. We noticed the beauty of the way things appeared in this fog. We learned to appreciate where we were in that moment and not be preoccupied with what would happen next, or tomorrow, or the following month. What seemed like an impediment actually turned out to be a wonderful drive.
Afterward, I thought about how much of life gets consumed by preoccupation with what might be. We get so busy with plans for a time to come, we forget to slow down and appreciate the time that is already here.
I was reminded once more: This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad. Once in a while, the Lord gives you a foggy haze just so you can see more clearly.