April is the Cruelest Month

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.
Isaiah 43:2 NKJV


In one of his poems, T. S. Eliot wrote: “April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.” I remember studying these words in a college literature class. The professor explained that President Lincoln’s assassination had inspired Eliot’s poem. Lincoln was killed in April, which is the month symbolic of hope and renewal of life. The President was shot on Good Friday, April 14, 1865 while attending a performance of a comedy. There is certain irony in that.

Like T.S. Eliot, I understand this paradox of life and death. I always approach April with trepidation. The month has been cruel to me. Each week in April holds a not so pleasant anniversary. My dad died on April 4th and my mom on April 11th. My grandmother died on the 19th, and on April 26th I lost a wonderful job at a company where I had worked for 20 years. All of these April events occurred in different years, so you can understand why I enter April with a certain degree of anxiety.

There is one special anniversary, though, that soothes my fear of April. It is the anniversary of the date I became a Christian. I was born into eternal life on April 3rd, 1985.

As I approach my 25th birthday in Christ during this Holy Week of Easter, I remember that God designed the date He saved me with a purpose. In His greatness, He knew that I would face many April valleys, and by saving me in that month, He assured me that I would never walk through them alone.

With each April crisis, I found enormous strength in His love. When I was lonely, He brought me friends and family for companionship. When I was so tired I could barely stand, I found rest by letting Him carry my burdens. When I hungered for the sadness to end, His Holy Spirit gave me courage to endure. When I was hopeless, my faith gave me hope.

April is my month. It is when God breeds lilacs out of dead land. It is where old memories are mixed with the desire to move on. It comes with the sweet freshness of God’s spring rain that nourishes the dull winter roots of my life and nudges them to grow.

"I thank God and I praise Him
for the sunset that lifts my spirit,
the morning that lets my
soul take flight in search
of wildflowers, the songbirds that
waken my world. And I
thank God for His presence
in my life, for family and friends,
for joy and even sorrows
that strengthen my life, for
the awareness that
God's love is the essence of
all happiness, the bond between
heaven and earth."
~Neil Fitzgerald~

Thank you, God, for my birthday gift. Thank you for all of my Aprils.



video

Steve Green : In Brokenness You Shine
Songwriters: Green, Steve; Herms, Bernie; Mckelvey, Doug;

Video by Jean Fischer




3 comments:

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Oh, Jean, this spoke to me loud and clear! April has been a month of extreme sadness for me as well. The toughest experience was the death of my husband.

Steve Green is one of my favorite Christian singers. The word, "hope," stood out like a neon sign. My pastor's been teaching on hope. Everywhere I turn, I hear about hope.

Hmm, do you think the Lord is trying to tell me something?

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jean Fischer said...

Susan, I'm sorry that April has been a tough month for you, too. Arm in arm we go.

Hugs,
Jean

quietspirit said...

Jean:
I used to feel February was my bad month. My grandpa, the only one I knew, died on Valentine's Day. The following February, my uncle, the only one I had, left this world at the end of the month.

My dad died last June. Two days before he died. My stepfather died. Had we chosen to attend sf's funeral we wouldn't have been home to receive the call from the mortuary. We have an estrangement between my mother and us. So, we chose not to open any old wounds.
I am trusting God to get me through this coming June.

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