I have never met a single person who is perfect. Even St. Mother Teresa admitted in her journals that she lived with struggles, including faith doubts. A lay woman, Dorothy Day, is on the road to sainthood. She is now called a Servant of God, the first step on the sainthood track. She was a non-believer, became a Catholic and had astounding ministries along the way. Her journey includes broken relationships, an abortion and was imprisoned numerous times because of her beliefs.
These are just two examples of human and holy women. Are they perfect? Far from it. And neither are we.
I have come to believe that the four seasons can be metaphors for our spiritual life.
Starting with spring time, I think we can relate to new beginnings in our lives. Just as the buds spring forth on trees and flowers break though the cold ground, we too start over time and time again. It is a time to begin again and again and again. We make mistakes sometimes by hurting others, being sarcastic, letting our prayer life slip, neglecting responsibilities. The list can go on and on. But with the newness around us, a moment comes when we realize that something is not right and we commit to beginning again by trying to eliminate the fault that holds us back. This is a time of new life. Spring – the time of new beginnings.
Have you ever felt that life is great? Everything is going smoothly in your life and you feel at peace. I who love summer see this as the time when I feel the warmth – I am in a good place even though there’s always room for improvement. I feel the warmth of good relationships and the support of my community. I have energy and start new projects. I continually try to deepen my relationship with God. I go out of my way to be present to others or to help someone in need. Summer is the season of my life when I feel full and grateful for all that is and all there is to come.
When we move into fall, we begin to see diminishment. Leaves are falling. The bright fall colors start to disappear, the breezes turn chillier. We can experience diminishment in a variety of ways. There may be the loss of a significant person in your life. You become an empty nester as your children mature and move away. Physical problems connected to aging begin. The energy that was so abundant in your spring years now is limited. The realization that you have less time to live becomes an everyday reality. But fall is a beautiful time to make the most of our lives before the next seasonal change. No matter the season, life is a gift to be used well.
Eventually, the winter season does set in. This is a time of limitations due to ice and snow. The earth is covered with a blanket of snow. The sky tends to be dimmer and it gets dark too early. And yet winter provides a time of rest for nature so newness can begin again in spring. This is a good time to go deep within and see the darker places we keep hidden with a false blanket of smiles. It’s a time to rest and renew the true self so that new life can come forth from within. Winter is a time of hope because we know that spring is right around the corner.
No matter the season we are gifted by God to live our lives fully. What season are you in at this point in your life? Do you see it as a blessing? How can you make each season more valuable for your spiritual life?