Thursday, March 23, 2006

SPRING AGAIN (BALLAD OF AN UNHAPPY MAN)

Have we not had enough of spring already, even after my last writing? I can’t seem to let it alone, but the reasons are far from clear. I am no fan of weather reports, I don’t usually find them either interesting or particularly believable, but three national surveys agreed that of the entire country, our area is today most spring-like. And to cap that I noticed for the first time this year there were a couple of gondolas out in the bay practicing their gala trips through local canals. The outside air confirmed the reports; warm and balmy, with perfumed breezes and greening plants—the whole nine yards. That is, until I met that downhearted fellow.’

He spoke to me as follows: This dawn found me reviewing my entire life—without one redeeming feature coming in with the sorry tide. This being the time of rebirth and change, I faced the prospect of a daunting task: give it up as a bad job or begin to redo the whole mess from scratch—I fell so low in spirits that some words of Isaiah came to mind, “But the wicked are like the tossing sea which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud” (57:20). The man certainly knew his Bible, but had apparently set it aside some time ago for other pursuits.

Isaiah is my favorite OT book; so literate, so incisively insightful, so painfully true. However, now that he thought of it, written therein is--”I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15). Off handedly I asked him what he thought should be the occupation of the contrite--he also asked himself: One word only came; repentance! It was then that the vision of an insurmountable task began to lose some of its impossible dimensions. While he still looked at an entire life of mistaken, often selfish, hurtful actions, where even its purposes were poor choices, and most everything came out plain bad, a choice to change everything might not be entirely out of the question—anything he does now can only be an improvement! Already so wrong, if change is his game, he couldn’t go wrong for going right. Besides, Isaiah says he is not doing it alone.

He seemed a happier man, and I reflected that if winter has indeed come and gone, can spring be not far behind--in fact, staring us in the face?