In Mississippi, it seems to occur overnight.
One minute, everything is merely on the precipice of new life, and the next, the landscape is awash in what I call “new green”.
We have a lot of evergreens in this part of the country, but even they take on a new hue as the oaks and other seasonal bloomers start leafing out.
It’s peaceful to see. It inspires hope. The old things are passing away, all things are being made new again.
I draw a lot of strength and inspiration from nature, no matter the time of year. But my heart settles down and basks in the joy of new beginnings this season.
This time next spring, I’ll have a new view. And it’s incredibly exciting to know that.
For now, though, in these next few weeks, I’m going to savor every moment of the view I have.
These green rolling hills and shade from the comforting arms of Oaks and Poplars have seen me weep. Have seen me smile. Have cooled me in stifling summers and looked ethereal with new fallen snow in the winters.
St. Francis has looked out over them with me. And his prayer is on my lips as the seasons of my life begin to change in profound ways.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
“In dying we are born to eternal life.”
I never had so much of a profound understanding of “dying to self” as I have over the past year. About turning 180 degrees from what would have been easy, and clinging to the hope of an eventual resurrection. Those who know me best know exactly where I was then, and how close I came to giving up on that hope.
Even though I haven’t actively participated in any intentional way for Lent this year, the last couple of years have been their own type of introspective and challenging time.
The journey of Lent takes us to Easter, but not before we reach the cross. And the journey is different for all of us. For me, it’s been about mustard seed faith. Tiny. Unimpressive on the surface. But when coupled with the Lenten discipline of denying oneself, something transformative begins to happen.
It’s painful. Harsh. But then, just when it seems as though winter is going to last forever, that “new green” just….appears.
Holy week is here. Joy is coming. The theme of resurrection not only plays out in the observances of my faith, but also in the details of my life.
What has been dead is being reborn.
A season of weeping is being turned to joy.
All the world is alive, as is my heart, my hope.