T. S. Elliot once called April the “cruelest month”—perhaps because, in April, we flirt with beauty and the opening of spring; yet we still can have grey, cold days that pull us back into the grip of late winter. The Greeks and Romans likely had a sense of this, too. April was named after the goddess of love, Aphrodite (the Romans called her Venus). As we all know, romantic love can be a beautiful thing; it can also leave us cold, left to wonder what went wrong and if things will ever be right again.
April moves us inexorably toward summer. It greets us with budding plants and spring green. But even in Georgia we still have the possibility of frost, cold, and disappointment. In April, we learn to live with lingering tension between expectation and disappointment. We become confronted with the reality of death. We are awakened to the miracle of resurrection.
For these days of broadening uncertainty, when the future feels so much less secure than it did merely a month ago, April feels like an appropriate parable for life today. It also must remain a vital parable of hope. Left alone and called to stay away from others, loneliness adds another strange dimension to Elliot’s April cruelty.
Thankfully, from what feels like the vagaries of wind and rain, cold and gray, in April, the world shifts finally towards a clear season of better light, warmer temperatures, longer days and a world bursting with color and energized with new life.
We are not lost. This economy, this season of COVID-19, and “social distancing,” these uncertain times will also pass. This month reminds us all of what is most true and abiding. We have hope. April is a month for resurrection. We commemorate it at Easter; we see it in the world.
Yet still our needs can overwhelm. Brokenness can still haunt us. Feelings of incompleteness and fear might still weigh us down.
In her poem found in The Christian Century, Bonnie Thurston says it well:
From where I sit …
We bring who we are,
Our carefully cared for,
Often broken best.
He gives what He has,
Wine from broken feet
Which I would wash
With grateful tears,
Polish with my wild,
If you are broken, weary, or discouraged and feel incapable or unworthy – there is “wine from broken feet,” a redeeming cross for broken lives, an empty tomb for lost hopes – for you – from Jesus.
May this be the living gift of our shared April. This month, may your life shine with the light of Jesus’ healing, resurrecting power. Thanks to Jesus, your broken best will be more than enough.
Happy Easter everyone.