The Cruelest, Greenest Month

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve had a little bet on within myself. Every year April comes, and Easter, and the trees are still grey and bare, but I say to myself, just wait, just wait, by your birthday, just wait. Eventually everything will start to bud, but the days will be coming on faster and faster, speeding up as they go, and I start holding my breath to see if spring will make it in time for my day.

But it does. It always does. I turn twenty-six on Tuesday and outside are bright, thin leaves, bold against the blue sky. Every time I look up, I feel a knot in my stomach.

This morning I went to my Aldi for the first time since its recent remodel. I’ve loved Aldi since college: it’s cheap and predictable. There’s one path you follow through the aisles, and I learned to make my shopping list in the correct order, so no grumpy older person would scowl at me if I had to turn against the flow of traffic to go back for something I’d missed. I liked that the first aisle was the snack food and wine, so the inevitable temptations could be dealt with early on. I liked the loud yellow price signs above products stacked haphazardly on pallets. I think I even liked that the aisles were barely wide enough for two carts, so that it was necessary to make friendly eye contact as you maneuvered past each other.

But now it is bigger. And they have more items stocked than ever. And the first thing you walk into is the produce. And they have labels up which say things like “Cereal” and “Personal Care” and “Cheese.” And the wine is in the last aisle, on sliding racks with mood lighting situated around it. The aisles are so wide now that I think the only person I made eye contact with was the cashier.

If you like nice, easy-to-navigate grocery stores with low prices, you should go to the Aldi on New Garden. But if you’re deeply change-averse like I apparently am right now, you should stay home, because you will hate it. Instead, take baby steps. Open a window and look at the green leaves and pink and white blossoms against the blue sky. Sit quiet and ask for the thing you have been steadfastly resisting: for the God who breathed this life to remake your heart in the same way he remakes spring every year, an act no less wonderful for having been promised.

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