When the Crows and the Locusts Came

I woke up this morning, this last day of 2013 with a cold or allergies, a scratchy throat and achy ears.  It’s a fitting end to this year that started with my laptop crashing and taking with it 2 years of my life (including all the pictures of my students from my two years of teaching) and middled with me leaving the ministry I’d planned to work at for the rest of my life.  The musician Brooke Fraser has a song called Crows + Locusts, with a chorus that partially reads:

It was the year
The crows and the locusts came
The fields drained dry the rain
The fields are bleeding

It was the age, the foxes came for the fields
We were bleeding as we bowed to kneel
And prayed for mercy, prayed for mercy

For me, 2013 was the year the crows and the locusts came. Nearly everything I had ever planned or hoped or wanted for my future is no longer. In the place of those lost plans, though, other dreams grow instead.  I spent September through November of 2013, running around southern Mexico, learning Spanish, making new friends, loving my new Mexican family, finding a metaphorical second home, reviving my broken spirit, and discovering new ways to live my life.  Everything isn’t magically perfect, but life is better.

This year has been heart-wrenching, soul-wearying, and life-changing.  In less than  a week, I go back to Mexico for three more months of Spanish school and practice and other new opportunities.  2014 has to be better.

Brooke Fraser’s Crows + Locusts ends with the following lines, lines that describe how I want to approach this new year.

She limps on up to the top of a mount
Looks at the faltered harvest
Feels her sweat in the ground
And the burn in her nose

And the knowing in her guts
Something’s still gonna grow
She ain’t leaving ’til it does

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood

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