Image and analogy generally help me to get my head or heart around a concept. Both today’s first reading from Jeremiah and the psalm compare those who hope in the Lord to trees planted near water. In Jeremiah 17 we hear that the one who trusts in the Lord is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: it fears not the heat when it comes; its leaves stay green. In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit. Psalm 1 is similar but says that this “tree” yields its fruit in due season and says of the hopeful person: Whatever he does, prospers. Emily Dickinson weighs in on hope with a little poem that often comes to my mind and lifts my spirits. It begins: Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.
When I’m feeling less than hopeful, these images help me to remember, with St. Teresa of Avila, that all things are passing; God never changes. Today seems a good day to reflect on the little things that call us to remember hope. Oh yes, and today just happens to be the Spring Equinox!