“For now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come.” – Song of Songs 2:11 (NRSV)
Spring is fragile. It’s not safe and strong at the root like summer is. Spring blabs on and on about its “new life” this and “new life” that, but let’s tell the truth: things that are trying to get born or give birth in spring don’t always survive.
When my daughter was 7, she found a baby bird in our vegetable bed. It was alive, but very frail. It had probably blown there out of a tree in the previous day’s windstorm.
“Mom, it’s amazing! I can see all its bones because it’s naked! Can we try to help it?” It was a nestling, eyes shut tight, all beak and bones and skinny butt, shifting slightly but not making a sound. It was alive.
“Honey, I hate to tell you this, but it’s probably going to die. A lot of creatures and plants die in spring—they’re just not strong enough to be here,” I said.
Undeterred, she ran to get a plastic Tupperware, lined it with toilet paper, and gently lifted the bird into it.
Ernest Hemingway once wrote that “the world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills.” He didn’t write that everyone becomes strong at the broken places. Just that many are. What makes the difference between someone who is stronger at their broken places, and someone whom the breaking, just breaks?
Perhaps it’s as simple as: someone to notice, and lift you up gently, and believe that you will live, until you do.
God (on this Mental Health Sunday no less): when we have fallen, send someone to lift us up. And everywhere we go, may we be the lifter-uppers. Amen.