The gift of spring lies in the simultaneous joining of promise and fulfillment to create a beautiful symphony of fragrance that radiantly flows from the soft petals of glorious color. All is made whole again with the onset of spring.
I am reminded a childhood hymn:
“For the beauty of the earth
For the beauty of the skies
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies
Over and around us lies
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise
For the beauty of the hour
Of the day and of the night
Hill and vale and tree and flower
Sun and moon and stars of light
Sun and moon and stars of light
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise”
When praise is far from your thoughts and lips, remain quiet until you can hear, see and feel the symphony of spring. And when winter arrives as it surely does, remember the symphony of spring can remain in our heart, if we allow.
Spring-phony all around, hill and vale.
We live our days in moments, often unaware of how special each one is, and we mark our lives with milestones and transitions – birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations and passings.
Today, my parents would have been married 58 years. See more on my parents in this post on their 53 years in 2012 on all that they taught me that remains this day, if not even stronger than ever before.
In 17 days, we mark the one year anniversary of my Dad passing away suddenly on April 28, 2016. The suddenly was good for him for sure, but not so much for us. We all still miss him every day and expect to the rest of our days. And the missing shows up in ordinary days, ordinary moments that we would have laughed about the same things or debated the topics of the day. It shows up in the first Christmas and the first Easter without him at the table.
So celebrate moments with those you love for those oh so ordinary moments will be what you most remember and cherish when they are no longer here. Forgive more, laugh harder, hug longer and be grateful for the many gifts that we all have that go unnoticed every day.
Happy 58th Anniversary Mom and Dad. Your commitment, perseverance, grit, faith and unconditional love transcends time and connects heaven and earth.
“I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
In the midst of it all, in the heat of the moment, we see only the height of the mountain, the width of the rift, the depth of the valley. Time and its companion patience eventually bring a fresh perspective, new priorities. We find our perseverance, grit, faith and strength to overcome, to withstand, to rise once again.
Life is often a series of starting again, getting up once more. But it is never starting over or from the very beginning. The journey, places, circumstances and people along the path, bring us to a new beginning, whether we realize it or not. We are moving forward to where we should be, never frozen in place.
“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”- Muhammad Ali
If today was less than expected, if you are in the middle of the desert parched and searching for the oasis, it will come in due time. In due time, all starts anew. Spring comes and melts it all into the river of life.
“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” – e. e. cummings
Brilliant blue skies that draw our eyes up to You
Rolling waves that draw our eyes down to You right here with us
Family who create the beautiful, imperfect fabric of our life, even when we take them for granted
Friends who show up to celebrate and remain in the hard times
Strangers who cross our path for reasons we do not know, showing us that we are all connected
Dogs who are both family and friend, modeling unconditional love when we forget
Children’s innocence and joy reminding of us where we started and where to return to
First snow sparkling in the sun and the fresh fragrance of spring, displaying the rhythm of the seasons
Challenges that make us grow, let go and dive deeper than we thought possible only to rise again different, with a steely tenderness
Music to dance and sing uninhibited
Laughter that let’s our spirit come out and play
Discernment to make better choices
Quiet to calm the soul
Faith to know that it will be o.k. and we are not alone
Peace within so we can create peace in the world
Grace that carries us and never fails even when we do
Poetry that shows us the strength of words
Kindness that shows us the strength of actions
Love, the only reason we are here
For all of this and abundance abound
For this and so much more…
“So this is how you swim inward. So this is how you flow outwards. So this is how you pray.” – Mary Oliver
As fall fluctuates between summer and winter-like temperatures, not choosing, I am reminded that the seasons of life are not clear cut either. No “10 easy steps to …” formulas or short-cuts. No hard and fast date that everything changes to the next and all is conveniently wrapped up, move on to the next.
Ebb and flow, back on forth, moving an inch at times and then suddenly a mile. It’s an unfolding of sorts, a slow yet deep transformation. And when we loosen our life jacket of “security” and ease the grip on the paddle, the flow carries us where we are destined to go, even if it’s not on our map.
Winter will come when ready, even in summer sometimes. Spring will follow on its time. When we let go of our expectations and “rules” of what should be, we discover the joy in going with the flow.
“Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather, it is a spirit that bears things – with resignations, yes, but above all, with blazing, serene hope.” Corazon Aquino
There’s a calm and beauty in lightning, in the rhythm of rain falling to the ground. No matter what storms may be present or are to come, we can bear it all with faith. There are days we question, doubt and hope wanes.
But the beauty of life is found in the gift of each new day. In a chance to start again, to believe, to hope and to let the sun turn the grass green again.
“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”- Rabindranath Tagore
“Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sand, creeds follow one another, but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons, a possession for all eternity.” – Oscar Wilde
Seeds hibernate to survive winter. Dormant, in waiting, quietly preparing for the ground to warm to break through to take in the light. Time passes, the sun lingers longer and the soothing rains turn the frozen ground soft. Soon the sleeping seeds awaken, unfold and diligently work their way through the crusted ground, revealing the miracle of life reborn yet again.
“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach
The seeds achieve their potential, rejoicing in brilliant color and delicate texture. Strong enough to survive winter and fragile enough to show their depth of beauty. Seasons change on cue, the cycle continues, the struggle of transformation fades and the joy of fruition takes its rightful place.
Cycles, seasons and life ensue.
“There are times when the ground we stand on loosens and shifts. Sometimes we regain our footing. Sometimes we fall and get up. Sometimes what shifts is dramatic and sometimes subtle. Whatever the cause, each shift opens a different stance of being.” – Mark Nepo, The Endless Practice
As fall gives way to winter, we linger in the middle with one foot in what was and one foot in what is to come. The in between, the middle, thin ice time. Seasons, stages and transitions are guaranteed in this life. And we are called to move through them, no shortcuts, no skipping past, right through the messy middle. And there’s a tipping point where we need to take the leap into what’s next, releasing what was or should have been.
“Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.” – Soren Kierkegaard
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance – help us understand not only the grief that comes from the death of a loved one, but the grief we face as we die a thousand times to our ego, assumptions, expectations and control.
If we move through the stages, acceptance comes, allowing us to move confidently into what is meant to be. We let go so we can move forward to experience the world differently and our place in it.
And the angst of death of the familiar and comfortable gives way to the joy and release of birth of what’s next in our becoming and unfolding. The cold ground warms, the bud breaks through and then slowly and suddenly a beautiful flower blooms. Spring always comes at the right time.
“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.” – Henry Ward Beecher
We peak one “leaf” at a time. Step by step, day by day, glory to glory with some defeat mixed in between. And then comes the tipping point. Brilliance and beauty that makes us stand still in awe. Keep going, you may be one step away from peak.
“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton
“We carry within us the wonders we seek without us.” – Thomas Brown
“We are here to live out loud.” – Emile Zola
The seasons remind us that we all have within us the innate power to change and transform our life each day. The sleeping branch buds softly to green foliage in spring, blooms full force in summer and bursts brilliantly to bright orange in fall, a final symphony of beauty before dormancy returns to take its rightful place. The promise of a good life filled with joy and delight resides quietly within each one of us waiting to be turned up loud and bright for the world. Find your orange, your voice, your you and live it out loud.