Bald eagles are hanging out at the lake by us and robins are chirping outside my window. Some early trees are budding, and the sun is no longer a stranger.

The seasons are changing and spring becomes more and more of a promise.

And we need it. The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan are heartbreaking and terrifying. Apparently the Japanese are better prepared for natural disasters than almost any other country on Earth. Man can seldom beat nature when nature is determined, though.

And, closer to home, bad news lurks.

I got an email from a friend yesterday telling me that her husband has Lou Gehrig’s disease. He is 64 and, while the disease is in its early stages, it is moving rapidly. He is a musician who will soon have to give up his music. They are devastated, reeling from the diagnosis, figuring out how to go on.

I just visited a friend in a nursing home. She is there temporarily, for skilled nursing as she rebuilds her strength after back surgery. She is in pain, but strives to be upbeat. When she tells me she fears she might be there for more than a month, I encourage her to take one day at a time.

Lame advice, but that is really all we have at any point. One day at a time.

So it is difficult for me to take too much pleasure in the sun streaming through my window, at the chubby robin on a nearby branch. But we must see joy in these gifts—they are the blessing of living.

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