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Emptiness discomfits me, snaps at my innards, and scrapes barnacles from my imagination while the sun-drenched afternoon toasts new budding on the snowflake viburnum outside my study window.

As a solitary dog-walker trudges up the hill, her chest heaving, a creeping barrenness unravels my grasp of life’s fabric.

I sit in my wing-back chair, close my eyes, and wait, uneasy and surrendered. Imperceptibly, a new courage emboldens me to listen. From the emptiness, an ineffable sense of the Sacred emerges, a whispering not found in human discourse or books.

This is something else.

It hurts: one of the faces of grief, united with the Ukrainians’ plight, the world over.

Yet, a wise potter once said, “We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds what we want.”

“This is the first daffodil that’s bloomed in my garden. I wanted you to have it,” said Eunice, the hospice chaplain as she handed it to me, its stem still bearing March’s chill. It was time for our Thursday morning visit, ongoing for over two years. Her smiling eyes met mine as she unzipped her jacket and followed me into the kitchen for a vase.

Her gift stirred me deeply—the harbinger of seasonal change ushering the return of color to washed-out landscapes, sonorous with the depleted energies of my old body. Yet, elation coursed through my hands while placing the daffodil in a vase filled with water.  

The plant’s six yellow petals and fluted cup or corona, though snipped from its earth-home, will gladden my psyche for days ahead. A close look within the corona reveals the plant’s reproductive system: six male stamens, surrounding the female pistil. Such flowering dates from the time of the Romans carrying these plants to Britain. In my perception, such longevity attests to the ongoing mystery of creation, that it is good, from the book of Genesis.

Despite spring’s hesitant warm-ups, daffodils have quickened my spirit, even more so this year. Such blooming splits apart their protective covering or spathe: such will be my experience, in time—some spring.

I did not look for it this year, but it happened. This morning’s sunshine drenched the single gold crocus emerging from a spray of striped leaves in my front garden, bare save for mulch and shrubs. For sixteen years this crocus has bloomed in the same spot and dissipated February’s flummoxing antics.

Such blooming recalls Creator God’s artistry and timing: It’s thrilling to be a part of it.

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