“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds.” – Aristotle Onassis
It is April 9th and it snowed again. I worked half the weekend on projects and trying to get my email down which didn’t work. I’m still at 500 emails with “to dos” attached to them. Civility is at an all-time low and adult-bullying is at an all-time high. Friends struggling with death, surgery, elderly parents. And it’s Monday and my calendar is filled with meetings that will produce more “busyness.”
Insert your list here.
We all are justified to be exhausted, frustrated and fed up. But that bus trip gets you to wasted days that never return. So despite our justifications, we must cling to hope and find joy in our winter seasons.
So much of what we suffer is outside of us – circumstances, unreasonable expectations, other people, the weather. We can and must control what’s inside so we can go out into the world and be hope and joy-filled people. To contribute to light rather than darken the darkness.
We have to intentionally, mindfully and actively choose hope over despair. So write your list, acknowledge the challenges and then move on. Also, write a list of your blessing and gifts. It will be much longer and deeper than you think. Gratitude is the bus to get on.
Find your inner “Tigger” and grow flowers within when the soil outside is still frozen and barren. And go out and beam, start a domino-effect of joy. That’s powerful. Joy over despair.
Cast light, bloom, multiply joy. Now that’s worthy of our time and attention.
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” – Pope John Paul II
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy
“I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed… Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” – Henry David Thoreau
A 5 degree swing and April showers turn into 7 more inches of winter. So often our expectations are out of line with reality. And we get stalled where we thought we should be. But where we are now in this very moment is where we are meant to be.
When we let go of our expectations, assumptions and fears, we open up to joy and delight even in the middle of a third Winter and delayed Spring. And what we thought we should have is less than what we receive in due time.
Under that fresh clean swath of brilliant white snow are seeds on their way to sprouts and buds. Remain in today with assurance and confidence that Spring will spring when it’s good and ready, as do we. Patience and time.
“A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” – Mahatma Gandhi
If grateful but for only one day a year, Good Friday is the day. Before spring, winter. Before light, dark. Before resurrection, the cross. Indescribable, unexplainable and utterly unfathomable.
“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” – Saint Augustine
It is finished. Amen
“O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” – Percy Bysshe Shelley
“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.” – John Burroughs
Even in a -25 below day, the sun remains casting light, warming the earth, reflecting off the crystals. No matter the weather, no matter the circumstances, light always remains whether we see or feel it in that moment. Knowing that puts our shadowed frigid moments in perspective as they serve their purpose of transformation. Light always remains. That pull, that thread, that knowing is called hope.
We all have our seasons, our winters to testify to this truth. So, if you are in a -25 below pocket of time right now wandering and lost, suffering and empty, light remains holding you and patiently waiting for you to find it again. Always with you, never letting go.
Winter shall pass when it has done its work, preparing you for the transformation of spring. Grit and resilience breaks the frozen ground to bloom anew to discover yet again the depth of light.
“Spring stirs under silent snow.” – Terri Guillemets
Spring comes sooner when you get out and stir some snow, break a new path. Winter lingers with hibernation. So whatever winters you are going through right now, break out of the pattern of hibernation and get out into the middle of it.
In the midst of our difficulties, there are pockets of joy to burrow into and accept if but for a moment to plant seeds of hope. Spring is stirring. Easter always comes.
“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” – Frank A. Clark
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:12-13
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Elizabeth Appell
Hope is the unbroken promise of what is to be in the passage of time, at the right time. Never, never, never give up hope for the best tomorrow. The fullness of time, trust and faith merge together to create our becoming. And in the waiting, in the building of patience, pursue joy beyond understanding and never give into despair. You are right where you are meant to be right now.
Our regrets will be centered on not enjoying moments in each day as they present themselves, even in difficult times. Full bloom comes with rain, sun and time. Full bloom, the fruition of hope. Choose hope and give permission to others to do the same.
“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams
“It is the hour to rend thy chains, the blossom time of souls.” – Katharine Lee Bates
Easter proves that light shall always overcome darkness. When we think it’s over and nothing remains but mediocrity and despair, Easter breaks through the clouds and shows its brilliance and strength.
“The world today doesn’t make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?” – Pablo Picasso
Often we may not see or feel it, but, the light remains, especially behind the thin clouds, sustaining and pulling us through.
This year, life has felt like a Picasso painting , abstract and out of order. And yet, glimpses of light keep breaking through the cracks and soften the heart.
Redemption, rest, realignment, hope, faith, light and, of course, love. Easter has come.
“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.” – Henry David Thoreau
Perhaps our biggest preventable regret will be realizing all that we had but missed. Not what we didn’t pursue, not far of lands that we didn’t travel to, but who and what was right in front of us that we didn’t fully see or appreciate.
A good friend of mine has a tattoo on her arm “open your eyes.” It’s a wonderful daily reminder to not look too far ahead and to learn from what has been so we are not fully sighted yet blind to the very present blessings in our life right in this very moment. The sunrise, the sunset, a drop of rain, a laugh, an embrace, the fragrance of a bud. Look around, open your eyes, all of your senses and take it in.
While in San Antonio for a conference last week, I passed a statute called “Homeless Jesus” in front of St. Mary’s Church in downtown. It stopped me in my tracks. How many times have I passed a real person on a bench and just kept going, touched slightly perhaps but not moved to stop?
When we don’t put the label of “other” on others, we find the source of compassion deep within that we’ve silenced in a hurried world. We appease ourselves with “it’s the church’s or the government’s job” to take care of them. We are the church, we are the government. And while a program will attend to the basic needs, human connection and dignity go to the heart of a human being who somehow ended up on a bench.
Whether on a bench or in the coffee shop, many people are struggling to merely get through the day. Don’t race by those who cross your path without noticing and being kind. If you do, you may miss Jesus.
“Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life.” – Janine di Giovanni
We are called to carry to the joy of Easter Sunday into Monday, Tuesday and each day to come thereafter. More than a day, it is a way to live, to be transformed. A chance to begin again, to accept grace that is given freely and generously.
Do not succumb to despair. Allow yourself to change and be changed.
Kids and dogs breathe in and breathe out joy naturally, without hesitation. Wide-eyed and unassuming, they accept and release abundance to all who are open and willing to take it in. Loving without condition, they give depth and dimension to an often obtuse world.
Happy Easter Monday, and Tuesday and Wednesday…
“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. “ – Saint Augustine