Sunday March 20, 2022
Today is the first day of Spring. It is a day to celebrate the changing of the seasons. It is a time to look for signs of new life. Well, if you live in a temperate climate. Not so much in our semi-tropical climate here in Florida.
Often when people move to Florida they say they miss the changing of the seasons. Having lived in Florida for 32 years, I have come to appreciate the changing of the seasons in different ways. We have the brutal heat and the intense thunderstorms of the summer. We have the season when oak trees drop their pollen, in our case, into the pool so we have to skim a couple of times a day. There are the two planting seasons for the vegetable garden – in the fall and as the new year begins. There is the season when the northerners are in Florida and the traffic is congested! So, there are ways that we can mark the seasons in Florida.
Here we are not going to know it is spring because all the bare branches on the trees begin to bud and those glorious spring green leaves appear. Or because the grass turns green. Or because flowers suddenly begin to emerge from barren dirt. It’s not as dramatic here. The changes are more subtle. So we have to pay more attention.
It can be like that with matters of the spirit. Sometimes there is dramatic unmistakable welcome change. And it is glorious. But often our spiritual growth is more subtle, incremental, and less flashy.
Our subtle seasons here in the semi-tropics invite us to look more closely. To pay more attention. To concentrate our awareness. To be more mindful. Because the world around us is going through its yearly paces and cycles. The plants and the animals are going through their seasons. Our son works on a farm in Bradenton and in the spring the calves are born. Nature stays true to its cycles.
These subtle seasonal changes reminds us of the need to pay attention to our spiritual cycles and seasons. How are we changing? How are we growing? What is surfacing in us? What is emerging? What is dormant and fallow? What comes up each year around the same time? This Lenten season is a time for reflection and examination and introspection. It’s a time to pay attention to what is going on with our spiritual lives. Maybe we haven’t had some kind of dramatic breakthrough, but if we are looking, we may just see that we are growing and learning and becoming more healthy and whole.
In the wildness of mercy, we may find that we are becoming more loving and caring and compassionate toward ourselves, others, and even our enemies. Even if it isn’t flashy and flowery, there may be slow and steady growth.
Look outside, out a window, or sit on a porch. Notice the signs of life around you. How are things changing? Emerging? Growing? What are the signs of new life? Take some quiet moments to think about your life. Do you see some new attitudes or openings or softenings taking place? Do you see passions forming? Do you see new love emerging? Or maybe forgiveness or acceptance? Give thanks for the signs of life in your spirit. Amen.