The madness of March extends far beyond the NCAA tournament that began this past Thursday. Like the tournament, the weather for March is predicted in the midst of uncertainty and upsets. Here in upstate New York this March has been typically irregular, irrational, and irresistible. It began not like the predicted lion but more like an irritable house cat with snow showers and a high of 29 degrees. Then March struck her seductive pose on the 10th when we basked in sunshine and 66 degrees. The following days brought summer like storms with driving rains, booming thunder, flashes of lightening, and widespread power outages, then temperatures dived back down below freezing and we experienced snow squalls that caused white-outs on the interstate. The madness of March disturbs my fragile equilibrium. Shakes my emotional foundation. Fractures my superficial sense of security. March backs me into the corner of my life where faith lives, where I trust in the one who promises “that for everything there is a season”. So, despite all evidence to the contrary, I believe that Spring is just around the corner.
I am not the first to struggle with the insanity of March. In Ancient Rome, March was called Martius, named after the Roman god of war and it was the first month of the year in the ancient calendar. (I guess that way, things could only get better.) I like the name the Ancient Britons gave it, “hyld-monath” which means very loud or strong. But back to Ancient Rome, where the month was filled with celebrations. one of which ended with a nine day fast, followed by a blood-letting by the priests of Cybele (a fertility goddess) and then two days of rest. Modern culture has replaced all that craziness with Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, etc.. I recently discovered that this is also National Optimism Month. OK then, I choose to be optimistic, to have faith that spring will arrive, and that the One who “holds me in the palm of His hand” has a firm grip even in the madness of March.