Friday, March 28, 2008

March…I don’t always like it

Sometimes March in Minnesota is a cruel master. I remember as a kid, working through a cold winter grinding feed, hauling manure and lugging pails of feed and water. When March rolled around, I was tired of the work, the cold and the mud. Then the first days of March came warm and sunny with gentle warm south breezes, tempered by the melting snow. Spring was on its way. I felt optimistic. Then the hammer would drop, the wind would switch to the northwest. It would become bitterly cold in just hours; the cold would wring every ounce of water out of the atmosphere and dump 21 inches of misery in drifts and piles much deeper than that. It was disheartening.

I remember one March I did not go to school for a whole week. All I did was pray we would not lose power so we could keep feed and water in front of the animals. It was a boring, miserable life. I didn’t like March.

March is the month of my Mother’s birthday--March 2nd. One reason I probably don’t like March is that it is the month that Mom died, March 4th and we buried her on March 7th. I remember those days—cloudy in more ways than one; cold, actually more than cold, it was piercing cold—the wet cold that cuts to the bone. It was the type of cold that you don’t warm up from, it’s the type of cold you must forget.

Do I have any right to complain about March weather? Actually, no. God in His creative genius, His sovereign hand creates the weather and March. It would do me good to quit complaining.

Fast forward forty-some years; it’s March, and March still can’t decide if it wants to be winter or spring… Judi and I watch as the pups play outside. In the early morning, the large mud puddle northeast of the house is still frozen. Pups fight and wrestle on the ice, slipping and sliding in gleeful mayhem. We laugh at their antics. None of them have any footing, slipping and sliding it’s a comedy of errors. Sven chases Tubby behind the bird feeder tree and they come running back together to the frozen mud puddle with the sole intention of steam rolling the other three pups only to lose their footing and the pups crash together in playful anarchy. What a hoot! We can’t help but laugh at their antics.

The day warms up, the temperature rises, the ice turns to water, the frozen soil turns to mud and Duke and Sven decide to lie down to cool off right in the middle of the mud puddle. When they finish cooling off, they join the other three pups in the sun on the south porch and fall asleep. Yes, for 15 minutes they sleep or slumber, worn out from the previous antics. Even muddy pups are beautiful when they are sleeping. This day truly is a March Day in Minnesota.

When we went to church at Lake Jennie, John Johnston, an Irish man and old missionary to China came to speak. He was in China before World War II, was captured by the Japanese and was a POW. He grew up in Ireland, the son of an Irish farmer. During the service, someone asked for prayer for the weather. We prayed. After church John spoke to the adult Sunday School class and commented on the prayer request for the weather. He said that when he was a child, whenever anyone complained about the weather, his dad would say “Who is this who riles at God’s providence?” In other words: “who is this telling God what to do?”

Jerry, quit complaining, God’s still on the throne. I would do well not to comment on His sovereign rule. Who am I to rile at God’s providence? I may even come to like March; as a matter of fact, I better like it.

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