I've got several friends who don't believe in God. Our friendship is beyond the point where we debate the subject. We have each tried to sway each other toward our particular point-of-view without success.
It is at this time of year that I have the most difficulty in understanding the beliefs of non-believers.
When I look at our region emerging from the sleep of winter and see plants that were dormant and gray begin coming to life, I just can't accept that this just happens by accident.
The whole world seems to have a monochrome cast during the depths of winter. The only exception is that touch of color we see around Christmas.
When spring comes, it is fascinating to watch the life, which was placed on an extended period of hold a few months ago, resume ever so slowly.
In my office, the window is a wide, narrow view that begins about five feet off the floor. Sitting at my desk, I can only see the tops of the trees surrounding our building. But I can glance up and see the emergence of the new life that so magnificently happens this time of year.
But there is more to spring than flora and fauna.
Nearly two months ago, a beautiful young woman in Forsyth County named Melissa Durand was coming home from church with her husband and two small children in the car.
A horrible wreck left Melissa with a life-threatening head injury, not to mention a broken leg, pelvis and neck.
Melissa comes from the Thomas family, whose roots around the Coal Mountain community of Forsyth County are mighty deep. Long-time residents of Forsyth gladly responded to the earnest call for prayer. This was one of their own and I know for a fact that a lot of folks have offered their prayers, their tears and their best home cooked dishes to sustain the family during this tough time.
Her husband, Bert, her parents, Bobby and Brenda Thomas, and her brother, Seth, have kept a daily diary of Melissa's progress on a Web site. In the early going, it was touch and go. She spent the first two weeks in the trauma and intensive care units at Grady Hospital.
Near the end of February, she was moved to Shepherd Spinal Center, and as her condition improved, she underwent surgery to repair the break in her leg.
This week, she is expected to leave Shepherd for an outpatient rehabilitation facility.
I count her recovery as nothing short of a spring miracle.
About 300 miles away in Charleston, S.C., they are expecting a 5-year-old Iraqi boy this week for lifesaving heart surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina.
He was discovered by Maj. Kevin Jarrard, a Marine from Gainesville who is currently in Iraq.
This cute little boy, Ammar, will spend a beautiful spring in Charleston with the knowledge that this place called America is pretty good.
The great thing is that hopefully, he'll be able to go back to Iraq and enjoy being a kid.
Halfway around the world, in Iraq, a sweet little girl named Amenah is at home with a heart that is working properly for the first time in her two years of life, thanks to doctors in Nashville.
I don't guess they have a springtime in Iraq like ours, but isn't it wonderful that the world has a season of hope. It's something all of us can believe in.
Harris Blackwood, a native of Social Circle, is on the editorial board of The Gainesville Times. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.