Ah, finally, we have sprung forward. It certainly has been one long, cold season, hasn't it, folks?
But with the return of Daylight Saving Time, it seems there's finally some sunlight at the end of the wintry tunnel. Spring isn't just in the air (despite this weekend's last blast of snow and ice), but it's actually on the horizon.
And, as Christians the world over stand at the precipice of another Lenten season, it occurs to me that renewal is as beautiful a thing as snow melting away to reveal spring blossoms.
Warning / disclaimer to any atheists scanning this column: you may want to stop reading here - though I wish you wouldn't - because I'm going to drop the "G" word.
I had the opportunity to attend a Women's Renewal at my church last weekend, and I must say it was winter when I walked in and springtime when I stepped out.
So, for those of you who may have not had the chance to experience a retreat of this sort, I've got to tell you, God works in mysterious ways, my friends.
Mystery No. 1: You never know who you'll meet at such an event. And, though I can't name names due to the nature of a renewal (it's sort of like Vegas in that what's discussed there is shared in confidence), I am happy to report that many of the new acquaintances I made last weekend are Trumbull county natives.
Heck, some of the ladies in attendance still live in the greater Warren area (even though the renewal took place on the west side of Youngstown). Others drove in from as far away as Lakewood to show up for the soul soother.
Mystery No. 2: It's incredibly refreshing to step outside yourself and focus on others once in a while.
You see, just as the earth is readying itself for the transition from barren to burgeoning, so too are many people attempting to rid their inner selves of coldness. Sharing stories of struggle and courage not only help the sharer in a therapeutic sense, they help the listener in terms of empathy and compassion.
Even if under duress.
Mystery No. 3: Just when you're certain you absolutely don't want to do something, following through with it ends up being one of the best decisions you've ever made.
"I'm thinking I should cancel. What if you and Kyle need me? What if work needs to get hold of me? What if our parents need something?" I said tossing every excuse I could at Kerry as he pushed me - though my hands were gripped on our kitchen chair - out the door last weekend.
"I'm a decent human being. I try to lead a good life. Why do I have to do this? I don't wanna," I whined to myself in the car the whole way there.
Guess what? At renewal's end, I couldn't have been more thankful that I attended.
Mystery No. 4: Open your mind and your heart to love and goodness and it winds up spilling over out of both.
Life is a journey of ups and downs, twists and turns, smiles and tears. But the thing that buoys us through tumult and guides us through joy is the thing that unites families, churches, communities, and humans, in general: it is faith.
Faith that knowing no matter how sad you feel, how low you fall, or how desperate you become, God never deserts you. And with that knowledge comes both an attitude of gratitude and a sense of freedom: freedom to take a chance on life and love; freedom to share compassion and kindness with others, and freedom to take steps toward a better, happier, more peaceful tomorrow.
Yep, sure does look like spring's just about to round the corner.
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle correspondent. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.