Early Spring 2006
The bare branches of winter have their own distinct beauty — especially when they reveal breathtaking views which are otherwise blocked during the rest of the year. They make me think back to bleak times in my own life — times of love lost, children gone, and dreams dashed. Under the surface of every one of those seasons of grief, new life was preparing to bloom. Dormancy is like that. You never really know what's going on under the surface, but if you're brave enough to fully experience those times of dormancy and hibernation, the clarity and vision you'll gain will bring about a renewal you wouldn't believe. It reminds me of a quote I read recently by Jean Paul Sartre: "The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it." Those of you who have come face to face with your own mortality know what he's talking about.
Many of us aren't so comfortable with bare branches and the shifting sands within our hourglass. We forget there is any season other than winter, and we'll do anything to distract ourselves from our present "lack." Like a severely dehydrated patient hooked up to an IV, we'll "hook" ourselves up to the distraction of choice, be it our iPods, eBay, DVDs, or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. We all probably know someone who can't even fall asleep without their TV droning in the background. We insulate and isolate ourselves within our self-contained bubbles of entertainment and avoidance, all the while missing the Main Attraction going on around us and within us.
But there's nothing like a long hibernation for the introspection some questions require: What do I really value, and how do I really want to be spending my time and with whom? We can either let winter do its work and emerge anew, having our dormant bulbs transform into flowers as we reinvent ourselves with new hopes and dreams, or we can continue insulating ourselves with all our distractions and busyness, emerging into springtime with no greater clarity or vision than before. My wish is that this spring, you'll challenge yourself to start anew, and that you'll give yourself the gift we see over and over again in nature — the ability to go on no matter what the harsh winter dishes up. It's a new day for us all. May we take off our iPods and turn off our TVs and computers long enough to revel in the newness all around us.