Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest, Sun, moon and stars in their courses above, Join with all nature in manifold witness; To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love Verse 2, Great is Thy Faithfulness
There are seasons in our lives. Times when emotionally, physically, or spiritually we feel in a season of spring growth, summer sustaining, autumn harvest, or winter fallow-ness. One place of tension can be when we feel in one season in one place in our lives and another season at another place. For example, maybe work is one season and family is another. We can also feel in different seasons within our own bodies. We can feel physically in a time of rest and barrenness, while emotionally in spring time. At such moments, being in different seasons within our bodies, usually one will dominate and even direct the other parts of our lives. Do you sense that one season might be a bit more over-powering? I sometimes suspect that feeling in winter emotionally, physically, or spiritually can be a dominate theme even if in the other two places you feel vital and more alive. Or maybe you feel inexplicably irritable or restless or just plain off/out-of-sync.
The hymn above reminds us that no matter what season or seasons...God is there with mercy and love. While last time we look at the growth of spring, we step into the sustainability of summer. Summer is that season where things feel like they are swimming along. Summer can be a time of rest or vacations. Summer can be the time when storms pop up, suddenly and even severe and dangerous. Just as spring brings fragile, new growth as well as mud. Spring can be a transition time when there is the possibility of a warm snow or cold rain. Those days eventually give way to warmer and warmer days. In Florida, there is a pattern to a summer day. The heat and humidity build to an afternoon rain shower, which adds even more humidity until you start to feel like you are swimming in moist air.
Spring and summer share the promise of slow growth. Tomatoes sprouts eventually bring forth leaves, then buds, then small green tomatoes which ripen and turn red under the warmth of the summer sun. Where is your spirituality growing? Are you growing more emotionally healthy? Are you caring for your one precious, wild life (as Mary Oliver calls it). We never stop growing. We never stop thinking. At a recent class, I was reminded that you cannot stop your thoughts...otherwise you are no longer alive. So, our thoughts guide us, either toward healing/wholeness or toward barrenness. Sometimes we need those no productive winter times. We need moments of rest and to stop creating all the time.
In the next post, we will talk about harvest and move into winter. But for now, I invite you to ponder prayerfully those places of growth. For me, the seeds that I am seeking to cultivate in the spring and summer of my soul are what Paul called the fruits of the Spirit which are: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), While that list can be a bit daunting...I also remember that these are not the fruits produced by Wes...they are the fruits of the Spirit of God. Opening to the Spirit in the spring of each morning I pray those seeds (rather than the seeds of gossip or fear or scarcity) will grow in my life that day. Even if the growth seems small...that is still a trace of God's amazing grace in my life. and I pray for yours too.