This is happening in my front yard right now. In Nebraska. In March. It’s unheard of. It’s almost as if we had no winter this year, and I know that is true for many of you in other parts of the country as well.
It has been interesting to me to listen to people talk about this unusual weather situation. There are those who missed having more snow. I get that some people find beauty in that cold white stuff. Sometimes I do too. But I have not missed the aching chill in my bones, the gray of the skies, or the general hibernation and withdrawal from each other that is typically part of a Nebraska winter.
Others have commented that the early spring must certainly mean we will have to pay something for it, in the form of a late freeze that kills what has begun to bloom, monster mosquitos, or a long, hot summer that will result in drought. Who knows? But then again, maybe this is truly Grace. A gift, with no strings attached.
In any case, today is beautiful. Color is back. Blues and greens, the pinks and whites of the crab apple and pear tree blossoms, the purple of the fragrant hyacinth in my friend’s front yard. The air has a softness about it. And the birds are back. I desperately miss them and their happy chatter when they flee each year for warmer climes.
Today is also digital release day for my friend Eric Peters’ new album, “BiRDS OF RELOCATiON”. What this means is that he takes the work of his heart and sends it out into the world in the hopes that it will be received with kindness; and that it will, in some measure, bless the ones who are willing to welcome it.
This record is so dear to me, as is Eric. It is right and fitting that it should release on such a day as this. Because it comes on the heels of a winter season as harsh as this one has been mild.
Since Eric was in town opening for Sara Groves on March 16, he stuck around and played a couple of solo shows in the Omaha area over the weekend. Eric also agreed to be part of Bethany’s Sunday morning worship services. (He’s a certifiable early bird, by the way, who doesn’t strain in the least at those crazy high notes they put in the hymns at the liturgical service at 8:00 a.m. For both of those characteristics, I have to resent him just a little.) He sang wonderfully at all three services. No surprise there.
But there was more.
As I’ve seen him do so many times, Eric chose courage over comfort. He chose to talk about the cold, gray season of his life that led him to the absolute brink of despair. He acknowledged his broken places and the darkness that plagues him. And in doing so, he made it OK for other people to do the same. As it happens, the timing of Eric’s long dark night of the soul happened to coincide with my own. It has been very good for my heart to know someone else has been on a similar journey back into the light.
And it is also VERY, VERY good to find myself, like Eric, other the other side of that harsh winter. I confess, there were many days when I doubted spring was a real possibility. Which makes it all the sweeter to be soaking in it now. Looking back, I see how faithful was the hand of God to provide just enough kindly light to illuminate each step forward. I am so blessed to find myself where I am, doing the things I am doing. What great surprises God plans.
A couple of days ago, Eric sent me some unfinished mixes of his album, and I got to hear all of the songs for the first time. Yesterday I got to help proof the final art work for the project. Like spring, both are full of light, bright color, and new life. They made my soul sing along.
It is true that there might yet be a late freeze, or a long hot summer ahead. Winter will surely be back to shock with full force one day. But today, it is spring. Blossoms abound, the sun is bright, and the birds have relocated back to my neck of the woods. It’s the kind of day that must not be ignored. The kind of day when the sky must be enjoyed.
I urge you to give reception to these new songs Eric has written and recorded. They express the hope that is ours, always. They are full of the breath of spring.
The BiRDS have just now been set free to do their work in the world. I hope you find as much joy in that as I do. Here’s a link if you need these songs as much as I do.