Hi friends and welcome to the Arise, Beloved blog. We have an amazing team of writers behind this blog and our desire is to speak truth into the lies that cripple us and shine light into the darkness that isolates us because we believe that now, more than ever, the Church desperately needs women to be restored so that the world can be set ablaze. Our hope is that you find comfort, solace, and peace in knowing that you are not alone, you are not too far gone and there is ALWAYS hope to be found.
What is your favorite season?
I always thought I was a fall gal. Oversized sweaters, hot cocoa, pumpkins, the crisp, cool air, colorful leaves. With the major holidays just around the corner, there is this sense of returning home, comfort, leisure that hangs in the air. Not only did I prefer the season, I wanted people to associate me with autumn, with the colors, the smells, the feeling.
Never spring. Ugh, allergies, rain, pastels, and rabbits. No thanks! I didn’t like the images that came to mind when I thought of spring. Pollen, the blanket of green covering cars. Plastic eggs and food dye, putting up a pretense for my younger brother into my twenties. Rain, so much rain, itchy eyes, and tissues galore…
That is until someone told me my personality reflects springtime. It was said in the form of an affirmation, so I tried not to be insulted. Me, I remind people of springtime?? I pondered the affirmation for a while…
It wasn’t until I experienced a drawn-out, cold, grey winter that I understood how reminding someone of springtime could be a compliment. Springtime: finally seeing the sun, budding plants, warmth, new life.
Now I look forward to spring. I actively search for the signs of the coming season.
In early February, I started noticing green budding on the tree in my front yard. I eagerly mentioned it to my parents and they said not to get too excited, there would be another freeze. I live in Texas, so I just laughed it off, everyone knows when Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, it doesn’t apply to the south. Not even two weeks later snow covered the ground, power outages were reported across the state, and all of the progress the trees made was destroyed.
This winter wasn’t like anything I had experienced, not even the long, gray one I endured in the North Georgia Mountains two years ago. It teased us with signs of spring that didn’t last. New life was halted and ice crept over the ground. Texans suffered and some died upon encountering situations people in the North face daily during winter.
I’ve never seen people more ready to shake off the harsh realities of winter. I’ve never seen people so ready for springtime, but not the “springtime” of my childhood plagued with sneezing and the easter bunny. The true springtime that brings about new life, Easter.
I think it is fitting that Lent aligns with the end of winter. There is a barrenness in both the natural and liturgical seasons that aids the fruitfulness of what is to come. This past season of winter brought death, took away access to heat and water, and had people relying on survival instincts. Similarly, the season of Lent calls us to die to ourselves, to deny ourselves of certain comforts, to be led into the wilderness.
No matter what you think about winter or snow, snow isn’t a punishment. For those who usually experience mild winters, or for people who learned how to shovel a driveway at a young age, snow isn’t a punishment. It’s actually beneficial for the vegetation, a natural fertilizer for the Earth as it melts and deposits minerals it collected in the air. It was certainly inconvenient and caused some to suffer, but it will yield to a beautiful spring.
The same goes for the Lenten season. Lent is not a punishment. Most people dread the season and long for it to end, but the point of Lent isn’t to sacrifice and fast to make us miserable. The point is to sacrifice and fast and make space for the Lord to bring about new life in our hearts. It’s beneficial in our journey to Heaven.
With the season of Lent behind us, I want to emphasize the importance of fully entering the Easter season, and with it, the joys of spring.
If I still thought spring was merely pastel colors and seasonal allergies, I would not be as delighted as I am that spring is here, that Easter is here. What good will embracing that incomplete ideal of spring bring when I desire to be transformed and brought to life by Jesus? Absolutely none.
Just like I look for the signs of spring around me as winter ends, I look for the signs of springtime in me as I enter the Easter season. I look for the graces I have received from fasting: how Jesus has become who I run to when I’m tired or hungry or lonely, instead of the things I gave up. I look for the signs of new life in me, the places in my heart where Jesus took root to grow or pruned away things that were inhibiting life. I look for the ways that Jesus shines light into my life, bringing His peace and making His presence known.
Easter allows me to see how Jesus works in the wilderness to bring about beauty and grace and joy.
Here is my advice, once the snow melts away: take some allegra, grab a picnic blanket, and go to your nearest park to look for the signs of new life around you. Enjoy the springtime, the flowers, the Easter candy if you so choose, the warmth from the Sun; enjoy new life in the world around you!
But more importantly, head to the chapel and look for those signs of new life in you! Learn to recognize the places in your heart that Jesus harvested during Lent to draw you closer to Him.
What areas of your life are full of peace? Do you feel comforted by His warmth? Can you see Jesus more clearly or feel His presence?
How has the Lord cultivated new life in your heart?