It was only March 3, but the daffodils were already pushing up through the ground: tender green shoots. Four days later and even though the temperatures had hovered near freezing for several nights, buds had appeared. A warmer winter and a south-facing flower bed had convinced these hardy harbingers of spring to do what they were made for. When I saw them, I prayed that really cold temperatures would stay away so we could enjoy their beauty, but it will be what it will be.
As the seasons pass they teach us the valuable lesson of the impermanence of material things. The flowers of spring, summer and autumn bloom their glory, then fade and die. Leaves that delight with their green in spring and summer, gradually turn brown, yellow, orange, scarlet or all of the above. Even the oak tree that holds onto its leaves over the winter eventually gives them up to make room for the new leaves the next spring. Snow falls, covers the dead grass and barren ground (and sidewalks and roads) with a white quilted coverlet. Each tiny snowflake caught on your glove disappears with the smallest breath. The majestic colors of the sunrise or sunset fade in the brightness of day or the dark of night.
If we pay attention to nature, we shouldn’t be surprised when other material things, including people, disappear from our lives. A favorite shirt finally wears out. A photo of a family gathering becomes so faded we can no longer recognize the people in it. The home we thought was our “forever home” has to be sold. Our family members and cherished friends move away or die. Our own bodies change so much we hardly recognize the face in the mirror one day.
Yet the comfort, the delight, the memories, the love remain and are pointers to the “forever home” that we will one day inhabit. If we have learned to let go gracefully each day, each time, these changes will not rock our foundation and we will find that all that has come before only makes our eternity that much richer. We say that the good Lord giveth and the good Lord taketh away, but if we pay attention, we find that the good Lord often gives back what was taken only now newer and more beautiful than before.
– Blog entry and photo by Sister Joyce Lehman