emptiness and transformation.

Dear March — Come in —
How glad I am —
I hoped for you before —

Put down your Hat —
You must have walked —
How out of Breath you are —
Dear March, Come right up the stairs with me —
I have so much to tell —

-Emily Dickinson, from “Dear March — Come in —

Signs of life are shooting up in our neighborhood and there is no longer snow in the forecast for this week. My beloved Daylight Savings is about to return. There is transformation afoot.

There is a softness to spring: the sun’s rays are not so intense. New blades of grass look more like fur. We think of baby chicks and bunnies. The world has emptied out and now it is filling back up, just as Lent is a time to empty yourself and open yourself to transformation.

On Friday, Atticus threw up in his car seat on the way to the visitation for a family member who passed away. This was the parenting obstacle I have been most concerned about: vomit. I cleaned him up and held him close and smoothed his hair. I didn’t get sick. It’s not that I wasn’t bothered by the aftermath. It wasn’t pleasant, and I felt queasy. But I was more concerned about my little boy, about the pain in his tummy, about making him feel better. It surprised me, and I was grateful.

As I focus on being soft-hearted this year, I find that it has opened my eyes to some of my smoother edges. How I have already experienced transformation. A few days later, I caught Atticus’s stomach bug and thought again about emptiness. Concerned, he brought me crackers and pulled up my shirt to pat my belly with his cold hand. Feel better, Mama, he said.

I do, buddy. Thank you.

I am attempting to check in on my one word – soft-hearted – for 2013 at the end of each month. Here’s February’s offering.

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