Every spring that I’ve lived in Seattle, on the first consistently sunny day, the same thing happens in my soul. As I start to sweat, saying to myself, “Oh my gosh – I think it’s at least 60 degrees right now and where are my sunglasses that I bought last summer?” the tough, weathered skin around my soul begins to shed. During the Northwest winter, callouses form around this Southern California girl’s soul for protective purposes. I can live through winter as long as careful measures have been taken, as long as I have clear expectations. You know, like – "Don’t expect to see the sun until the 4th of July. Then, if Spring ends up being awesome, you’ll be super surprised and subsequently love where you live."
For the first 5 years I lived in the Great Northwest, I loved the irony of the rain, the melancholy, sort of literary feel it had. Year 6 brought some impatience with the weather, and this year, year 7, the protective barrier around my soul had to become downright leathery to endure the gray. I love blaming the weather for whatever emotional state I’m in. It’s so convenient. You know, it’s not the crazy adjustment of becoming adoptive parents or the often ludicrous challenges of living as leaders of a church – it’s the weather.
But, today there was sun. Lots and lots of sun. The blanket of gray that loves to cover the Puget Sound migrated somewhere else – hopefully to a place that needs rain, hopefully to a region experiencing a gigantic drought. I’m incredibly willing to share our weather with the needy. I’m compassionate like that.
Today, I could see the mountains. Really, really see them. In the sunlight, they are their own private shade of blue and the snow-capped peaks look ethereal, almost like a cartoon.
With the sunshine today and said shedding of callouses around the soul, I was surprisingly smacked in the face with joy. Just totally and unexpectedly SMACKED. The joy I experienced under the blessing of sunshine didn’t just look like a big dopey grin. I cried like a baby this afternoon. I should qualify this statement - I actually did an ugly adult cry. Not cute at all. I had several epiphanies about parenting, which made me laugh and then cry again and then inexplicably hiccup. When I say, “smacked with joy,” I mean that I was flooded with all kinds of emotions, the sum total of all being powerfully positive.
Something about the gift of warmth and sunshine forced an encounter with things the leathery winter soul had been staving off. Things like, I know Duzi has some sensory issues we need to deal with, but oh my gosh I can’t believe how far we’ve come. He is my son and I am his mom and all I can think is MIRACLE. He drew this picture in our driveway with chalk today.
Things like, Caleb needs some alone time with his parents – he just asked how the “information” from a mom and dad “come together” to decide what a baby looks like. YIKES. Time for some intentional discussion.
Things like, in a few Springs’ time, Alex is going to wake up a woman (OK, she’s only 11 but today that seems really old), and WOW how did the time go so fast.
Under the sunshine today, I felt overwhelmingly grateful. I may have shouted out “Thank you, Jesus!” a few times in public. I'm charismatic like that (OK, not at all - the sunshine made me do it). If you were at Greenlake today, that crazy, muttering runner was me. I took this pic of Greenlake this morning on my phone.
It's gonna rain tomorrow. But, I think I like living without callouses on my soul.