As the east coast managed it’s fourth nor’easter in March, many people wondered out loud, “Will spring ever come?” I heard many respond with, “Don’t worry, spring is just around the corner.” That reminds me of the children’s story collection about two of my favorite characters, Frog and Toad, created by Arnold Lobel. One story in particular is called “The Corner,” where a grumpy yet loving Toad expresses dread at their ruined day due to cold rain. Frog, with his ever consistent optimism, makes tea and distracts Toad with a story about how his father once explained to not fret because “spring is just around the corner.” This led young Frog on a search around every corner looking for spring.
Why does Frog go looking for spring? Is he not patient in waiting? Or, has he lost hope that spring will come? Maybe he feels he has to find it in order to believe it is actually there.
Many of our clients and residents come to us after looking around corner after corner for their spring, their new life, and often hope that has been lost. They come to us broken from harsh winters of their own: drug addiction, homelessness, abuse. Often these men and women wonder if spring will ever come. It is Friendship Houses’ mission to remind them that spring and new life are always right around the corner.
All too often hope fades away when one is stuck in a dark place and wandering lost in the wilderness. It takes deep faith and hard work to find the best pathway out. Many pathways lead to other dark places, but finding the pathway home is a journey of its own. And it is a journey Friendship House takes with thousands of individuals every year.
For many spring brings the celebration of Easter; a time to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. At Friendship House we experience Easter every day as we work with our clients and witness new life born out of darkness. These moments, although not uncommon for us, are always special and beautiful. They are the moments when a resident hits a milestone—1 week clean, 1 month clean, 1 year clean. Easter for us happens when a client, who has been living in the shadow of her dead daughter’s overdose, lets the past go and whispers, “I am going to be OK.” This miracle happens when a homeless man finally gets a job, then an apartment, and then sees his son for the first time in three years.
At Friendship House, we witness new life no matter the time of year and regardless the weather. We get to be part of someone’s journey as they find a pathway out of the dark woods where they find spring—just around the corner.
What happened with our friend Frog from the story “The Corner”? As he went around his fourth and final corner, Toad asks his friend Frog, “What did you see?” Lobel writes:
“I saw the sun coming out,” said Frog. “I saw birds sitting in a tree. I saw my mother and father working in their garden. I saw flowers in the garden.”
“You found it!” cried Toad.
“Yes, I found the corner that spring was just around.”
If you find yourself in a dark place, keep faith and remember: Spring is always around the corner.
– Kim Eppehimer (Executive Director)