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Spring

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When I went to Boston for graduate school, I was fully prepared for the colorful leaves of fall, the snow of winter and the heat of summer (I was spoiled with A/C everywhere in Florida; not so in Massachusetts.) What surprised me the most, however, was walking to class still bundled up in my coat, hat and scarf on a sunny day in late March, with slushy snow still on the ground, and spotting a single, bright yellow daffodil bursting through the lingering ice.

Spring had sprung.

As the weeks progressed, more daffodils and then tulips popped their brilliant heads out of the now melting snow and smiled at me as I walked by. Other than the occasional orchid blooms, I didn’t grow up seeing much evidence of spring here in South Florida – spring down here just seems like a prelude to the summer heat.

These beautiful floral blooms bursting forth from the browned earth reminded me that “there is an appointed season for everything, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” (Ecc 3)

More than 15 years after my first daffodil sighting, I am more acutely aware of how we experience seasons in life, particularly in marriage and parenting. Sometimes the kids are behaving and cooperating and we feel a touch of the confidence of spring; other times they (and we!) are changing, adapting, and experiencing growing pains, like the colors and falling leaves of autumn. At other moments, we all seem to be in a funk and bitter cold attitudes abound, like winter. And sometimes we laugh and have fun and it’s light-hearted, like summer.

Both as a parent and a spouse, I am constantly tempted to think that my husband or my kids are always going to be a certain way. I unintentionally label the rambunctious kid, the talkative kid, the studious kid, the shy one, and so on. I even label myself – and not usually with the kindest of labels either.

But hasn’t the Lord told us, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5)? Are we not always being reborn into Christ’s light and love, continuously renewing ourselves and striving to be who God made us to be? Darkness and dreariness always gives way to light and rebirth but just as the soil allowed the daffodil to burst from the ground, we too need to allow God to till us for his fruits and flowers to grow within us.

Jesus didn’t stay on the cross and he didn’t stay in the tomb. He arose for all of us so that we might be born anew in him. This rebirth and renewal is a precious gift we are given daily; but sometimes we need to pass through the cold darkness of winter and death to be reborn in spring. The Church, in her wisdom, also created the liturgical calendar, with its seasons of rejoicing and mourning, feasting and fasting, to invite us to fully participate in these changing seasons, both in the physical and spiritual realms. What a gift this is!

During this Easter season, let us remember that we are called to continual growth and closeness to Christ, to experience a new spring of life in him.

“Arise, my friend, my beautiful one, and come! For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of pruning the vines has come, and the song of the turtledove is heard in our land.” (Song 2:10-12)

 

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