On a perfectly beautiful spring day last week, my wind chimes started singing. They make music every single day, but on this day it signaled something different. The time of year I love the most, the days of spring that I cherish. It's fascinating how God does that. How he turns our ashes into something beautiful.
I have always loved Spring in Texas, and especially April, the month that really signals change. April, the month that pushes the short Texas winters away for another eight months, that ushers in thunderstorms, and calls the bluebonnets up out of their rest, is what I always look forward to each year. Seven years ago I was enjoying the fruits of another lovely April while also anticipating the birth of another kind - the birth of our first daughter. But my coveted springtime became a very dark winter when our daughter Eveyn passed away later that month.
After that, I thought springtime would be the time of year that I always dreaded, but the opposite has come true. It is the time of year that I feel closest to her. The warmth of the air, the shine of the sun, and the sound of my wind chimes gently swaying all take me directly back to that April seven years ago.
When we first came home from the hospital without Eveyn, the weather was beautifully springtime all week. I spent many hours laying on my couch in a quiet living room, in between discussions about funeral plans, staring at the beautiful simplicity of the sunshine out my window and listening to the soothing music of my wind chime. It was such an amazing contrast I was experiencing in my heart. While there was so much darkness within me, there was the constant bright, hopefulness of spring all around me. This was a saving grace to me. It gave me hope, it gave me a promise of tomorrow. (At least in those first shocking days, anyway. Grief is a very long, complicated process that many times feels very hopeless). But he gives us reminders that even during all of the bad, difficult things, there is still so much good. Beautiful glimpses of eternity, right here in this often times mucky world. Hope.
God gave me so many gifts of the senses in that first week that I carry with me to this day. From the moment I held Eveyn for the first time and smelled her freshly-birthed skin, God was building those memories into my heart. As strange as it sounds to others, God understands and smiles with me when I smell freshly laid mulch in the spring. He knew what was happening when the little girl across the street was born exactly one month after Eveyn, and I would get to watch her play and grow each year. He knew what memory was being laid when I first felt the warm breeze and bright sun as I stepped out of the hospital. And he knew how that first time I heard my wind chime in my quiet home would be a blessing to me the rest of my life. He knows my senses and how I'm blessed by them. He created them in joy.
We all connect so much of life, memories, and love to the senses that God has given us. What a gracious, kind and generous gift to give us. We not only get to remember with our minds, but we have the joy of tasting, smelling, feeling, seeing and hearing our memories as well.
It's what allows me to feel close to her still. Without these sensing memories I have of Eveyn, she would feel so much more distant with each year. But God has allowed me not only to simply remember her, but to keep her very close to me. What a blessing. And a hope.