By Dr. Jim Ferguson
These days, the prospect of spring is tantalizing. This time every year I’m glad to see February exit and begin to embrace the promise of winter’s end. Knoxville is fortunate to have four seasons. About the time we are sick of the heat of summer we have a wonderful fall; and then the holidays. Then comes winter. I even look forward to one or two magical snows, but then I’m done.
I think spring is my favorite season. Because I’m cold natured, I shiver from late November through the Ides of March. I’m glad that the predictions of the Pennsylvania woodchuck seem wrong this year, and that spring is now evident in roadside fruit trees and daffodils. However, I’m still holding my breath because the blizzard of 1993 occurred on March 13.
The budding leaves of spring sport a different shade of green than those of summer. The green color of spring is lighter and more delicate than summer’s deep green. New leaves have the faint yellow hue of chartreuse. Newborns often have a faint yellow color, because their immature livers are unable to handle yellow bile pigments as well as mature livers do. Sometimes this produces a serious condition called kernicterus, but usually neonatal jaundice is only a passing thing, and but the first of many concerns parents will experience while raising their children.
Each morning as I awaken and “reboot” the computer that sits atop my shoulders, I thank God for another day of life. Like my return to consciousness, springtime is an awakening from the gray and brown deadness of winter’s slumber. My Lenten Roses bear the name and spirit of Easter. My rose’s new chartreuse leaves replace last year’s old worn ones, and their delicate blooms harken Easter’s resurrection promise.
I find it is a challenge for me to balance personal sanity with the responsibilities of citizenship. Philosophically and spiritually, I am trinitarian. I believe four choices are too many, two choices are not enough and one option precludes any choice. I struggle to remain dutifully knowledgeable of events, but the stench of Washington’s sewer threatens to sour my soul. As the Jedi Master, Yoda said, “anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering” and to the Dark Side of The Force. These days, humanity’s dark side is readily observed in the media, in Washington’s politicos and with Hollywood’s pseudo intelligentsia.
For those not already blinded by the darkness of hatred, I see three options: flee from this evil as do monks who choose a cloistered environment. Or you can compromise your principles and go along to get along. Lastly, you can combat evil. Resistance is not futile, as the Borg opine, but it does have consequences. I cannot run away and I will not compromise my principles. So, I must resist, “speak the truth in love,” and risk the consequences like the Man of Sorrows two millennia ago. Thomas Paine said during the dark days of 1776, “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country.” Make no mistake, America is in crisis and needs patriots, not the disingenuous “resistance” (to Trump) led by CNN, the Deep State and Washington Post types.
If we were not at war I could write about medicine or more lofty subjects. However, the survival of our country hangs in the balance, and demands that patriots stand forth. Edward Bulwer-Lytton coined the phrase, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Fortunately, this American civil war is being fought with words instead of the bullets of the 1860s. And I have a voice through the pen.
Though I try, I doubt there is anything I could say that would change the mind of a Trump hater. Nor, could Wolf Blitzer change Trump’s mind. However, there are reasoned, God-fearing, fair-minded citizens who hopefully will listen to the perspectives of the so-called left and right and then make up their own minds instead of being told what to think.
A self-avowed liberal friend of mine reads my column regularly and marvels at how differently he sees the world than I do. We are both teachers, Christians and love our country. We acknowledge that each of us is a moral person. And we have come to the realization that the best that we can do is respect each other’s opinions and politely agree to disagree on politics.
Some weeks ago I wrote an essay noting that the messenger is more important than the message. I have meditated on this perspective and I have awakened to this fundamental truth. In other words, my walk with the Master and my witness is more important than any verbiage. Propaganda may trump a sword or the barrel of a gun, but all pale by comparison to the life of Christ or a Billy Graham.
So this week as we struggle against darkness and endure the last vestiges of winter and harken to spring, I choose to embrace hope and beauty captured in the image of daffodils so emblematic of spring. Some, may find my focus quixotic, but beautiful words and thoughts transcend what Bismark once called the “sausage” of politics.
Therefore, in closing I’ll leave you with a perspective and vision for your “inward eye.” Emily Dickinson once said, “If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry.” William Wordsworth, a lake country poet of 17th century England, once happened upon a field of daffodils. He captured that vision in a wonderful poem. I hope Dickinson’s perspective and Wordsworth’s vision gives you chills and awakens your sleeping soul.
“…I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”