I remember that I read The Secret Garden when I was around eleven and it must have been spring, because I cleared out a little patch of ground and watched.
I waited for the green shoots. I cleared away the debris of winter and fluffed up the matted grass and soil and I watched the green heads poke through, just like Mary and Colin and Dickon.
I watched wildflowers and daffodils and tulips unfurl in the spring, beauty that I didn't work for. Beauty that would poke through even had I not cleared away winter's clutter, because that's the nature of things.
There's never been anything "green" about me. In fact, for most of my life I've shied from even the emerald color because of hair that I thought too red and if I'd had an accent it would have been fine, but I didn't, so it wasn't.
No green for me. Not my clothes, and certainly not my thumbs.
I have frequent sessions of what I call "Plant Rehab", where I gather up my poor, neglected houseplants and try to revive any remnants of life. I fluff up the soil, cut off any irreparable damage, and give them a little change of scenery.
Oh, and water. Plants like water.
So I've never been famous for my lush greenery or bountiful garden, and that's ok.
That's ok because wildflowers and daffodils and tulips still come up in the spring.
This year, I'm watching them along the creek and around the old house site on our property because in the fall my mind was filled with other things, and the thought of planting bulbs was spent on something else.
I can't remember what, but obviously not bulbs.
I walk the creek and remind the kids to bring me those flowers when they finally burst open. Let me enjoy the flowers I didn't work for, and don't let me forget to dig up some of the bulbs, to bring them closer for next year.
Spring is green without your toil and the sun (here in Oregon, when we see it) is just warm enough for a sweatered-walk. That's perfect.
And spring is a few nice days in a row and then a break of rain and cloud, because the ground needs it and you might need it, too. It's ebb and flow and not too much of anything.
It's beauty I didn't work for.
After a season of beauty-in-hiding and all the frumpy days of winter and the blues, it's high time for green. Time for some refreshing and a reminder of hope.
Christ in you, the hope of glory. The grace that you didn't work for but Christ died to give you - the seed that gave life by dying.
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. - John 12:24 NKJV
And here's the greatest thing: all the rain He sent you has watered something. The storms made weak things strong and blew away the un-anchored debris, puffed out idle passions, left you exhausted and gray at times. But now?
Now it's spring. Now it's time to blow a soft breeze and kindle something dormant. To clear away debris, take stock of your damage, and find that Hope of glory.
Remember that grace is beauty you didn't work for.