Spring has sprung in our little area of the world. My husband and I have been taking our daily walks, soaking in the changing scenery. We just step out into our neighborhood and head in a different direction each afternoon. The trees have shed their leaves of last year and are slowly budding into bright green. The old leaves, brown, dried and withered, are now gathered and placed into lawn bags, awaiting their imminent removal. The few still scattered here and there on our lawn will continue to deteriorate, completing their cycle by feeding nutrients into the soil and ushering in new life. Yes, thankfully, it is March here in Florida; and, although our Spring comes earlier than in other areas of the country, it does eventually come to all of us, and isn’t that a wonderful thought?
I can feel the excitement of the season bubbling up from the inside. We have all experienced this sensation over the years. Suddenly we feel the need to be outdoors. We are motivated to tackle cleaning that closet for the first time in a long time. Perhaps, as my mom did, we decide to clean the house from top to bottom. Spring Cleaning she called it; and when it hit, she was like a cyclone… a woman on a mission. I would watch her as she cleaned everything in the house, the yard, and the garage in a seasonal whirlwind . I can still see her standing on the front porch with the garden hose spraying down the walls and the porch swing all the while directing my daddy and siblings on what still needed to be done in the yard. Truthfully, when the fever hit my mama did an excellent job of ignoring the eyerolls and the hushed comments by the rest of the family…”she’s at it again”. I still recall later that evening, really late, the smell of fresh cut grass wafting through the open windows, mixing with the smells of cleaning products and Mr. Bubbles bubble bath. Life was good. It felt…well… amazing. Everything seemed fresh and clean and new. A fresh start. A clean canvas. Honestly, it wouldn’t take long and my three siblings and I would have it back to… “ahem”…lived in; however, on that night, and for quite a few after, our life was cleaner, better, less cluttered, even more focused. I would while away the hours on that freshly washed porch swing, reading my latest book and enjoying being me. Witnessing her annual frenzy should have given me an indication that I, too, might suffer from this seasonal ailment. However, much to my family’s chagrin, all too often accompanied by their eyerolls, I have realized that I take Spring fever to new heights.
I realized as a young wife and mom, that the reason I so enjoyed this time of seasonal flare-up when I was little was not necessarily because of a clean porch swing, but because of what Spring fever really brings us. Spring ushers in hope. Hope for a fresh start. Hope for something new. Hope for a cleaner life. Hope for new purpose. Hope to finally take some time for ourselves. Hope for better choices. Hope for less clutter, less status quo. When I had this realization it changed my life. I realized that I did not need to wait for March in order to do some spring cleaning. I can, and do, (hence the eyerolls of my darling family) take every opportunity throughout the year to make fresh starts, to start something new, to clean up my life, mind and body, and to seek to fulfill my God-given purpose.
What area of your life needs hope right now? Perhaps it is a cluttered closet or a dirty porch swing. Maybe it is a fresh start in your career or a relationship. It could be that you are searching for new purpose. Whatever it is, allow me to sit down on that porch swing with you and offer a little encouragement. You can do this. You can make movement in any area you feel needs some spring cleaning. Start with something small. Even small movements done regularly will offer up great gains in a short period of time. If health is your area, can you just walk around the block today? I know, it doesn’t seem like much; but if you only walk around the block today, and again tomorrow, and the next, I promise you that, shortly, you can manage to walk two blocks…and that is a great gain. Perhaps the space that needs attention is in a relationship. Often times these are the hardest areas to address. Can you read one book on marriage or child rearing? One book each month? Can you commit to small movements? It’s time after all, isn’t it? Maybe you are thinking that you have so many areas that need some work that you don’t know where to begin. Can you pick up a notebook or journal and commit to recording each area that you would like to address and then write how you are feeling about these areas each day. Eventually one or two of those thoughts will produce the answer to where you need to focus your time. If you are not sure, can I encourage you to seek advice? Oftentimes the advice of a wise friend is all we really need. Look at your life and, like my mom would do when overtaken by the fever, address it from top to bottom. Then, with a plan in mind, start at the area of most clutter and begin whipping it into shape.
You really don’t need to wait until Spring to foster hope in your life. I want to invite you to join me in my Spring fever. I want to inspire you to take just one tiny step in a different direction. I want to encourage you to stop expecting and accepting status quo from yourself. You can do this. Then I want you to open the windows and let in the lush fragrance of the season, pour some bubble bath in the tub, grab a good book, and take that time for yourself. You deserve it. Spring fever has arrived and you have embraced its frenzy and it’s hope.