FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Of a winter and a spring…

by Dave Markwell

While driving home from school the other day, my 13 year old daughter queried, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” “I don’t know. Why?” I replied. “To go to the idiot’s house.” my girl responded. I sat puzzled until she chimed, “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” I reluctantly asked. “The chicken.” she said, and then she laughed. I like it when she laughs. I don’t care that is usually at my expense in some form or another. A solid portion of my life’s joy is closely connected to hers. It has been this way forever and is unlikely to change.

The sun was out and we were driving the same route we have traveled countless times, with nothing but her smile to draw any distinction between this day and the great many others. A smile on a 13 year old young lady’s face is a precious thing. It is a treasure I have sought and dug through hard miles of rock and mud trying to find. I have come up with an empty gold pan many times and the only conclusion I can assert is that it cannot be found…it finds you.

This day it found me when I really needed it. Reveling in some sunshine and a pretty girl’s smile served to remind me that like all good things, all bad things end, too. And after suffering the longest winter of my life, the tiny hint of a fresh bud on a cherry tree and a ray of sun through my windshield gave me some sliver of hope that I would survive.

In all the years that I have spent on this earth, I cannot recall a more dismal winter than the one I feel more than a little relieved to have survived. The ceaseless wet and dark days seemed to cast an evil spell on my spirit and it was a tough one to shake.

Some seasons of life are like this, too. We wake anxious and without joy. We lose a certain hope and cling to whatever insufficient life preservers we can find as we simply try to keep swimming in the cold waters. With no shoreline in sight, we must rely on a special kind of faith, held in a secret reserve for use only when we need it most. We bust the glass on the red-lettered emergency case holding this treasure and use it to keep our heads above water and trust we’re moving in the proper direction. With some land in sight on the horizon, we summon courage and strength previously unknown to us and arrive on the beach tired, beaten, but with our battered spirit intact and a grin. We survive and can greet the fresh spring with a new faith in our capacity to endure and prevail over the darkest of days. And this is nice…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). He also runs the new Waterland Arcade, located at 22306 Marine View Drive South. Dave extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, Dave needs more friends – find him on Facebook here.

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