Spring used to be my favourite season, from the first snowdrop in February, to the delicate drifts of cherry blossoms, the golden trumpets of daffodils and the uplifted chalices of tulips, all the way to the lush blooming of the lilacs and the first roses. On the west coast of Canada, you can mark time with each new wave of flowers. Here in Montreal, however, winter clings with icy fingers as long as it can, right through April. Then, overnight, the temperature soars to summer heights – though the trees are still leafless and the grass barely green. And when the flowers do bloom in mid-May, they do it at the same time: tulips, lilacs, roses – all together. It’s all very strange to me.But in this urban jungle where I live now, I’m learning to spot other signs of spring. For one, the Bixi bicycles are back. The park near my place is once again full of children, squeaking swings and bouncing basketballs. People are out on their front stoops and balconies – and everywhere, everyone is smiling more. I’m learning that it takes more than flowers to make a spring. And if I’m attentive, I’ll see signs of hope everywhere.
Speaking of springtime and hope, Pope John Paul II will be canonized this weekend. He combined those two words in one of his most well-known themes: the new springtime of Christianity. Like the east coast spring, this spiritual re-awakening can be harder to spot, and sometimes we can even despair of its existence. But it’s there. We just have to look harder.
“This first sign of spring – winter’s loss of power and influence – does not guarantee future flourishing, but it does make spring possible. Springtime is not a period of reward but a time of labor. Unworked land will produce acres of weeds rather than rows of wheat. No harvest can be expected if no seed is sown. In the Christian life as well as in business there is such a thing as a missed opportunity. Springtime offers a temporal window in which to invest one’s efforts for future gains. It is a call to earnest effort, not a promise of guaranteed success.” ~ Thomas D. Williams