The first signs of spring have finally arrived and people are getting excited. In the Northern regions it is warmer and the snow is melting. We can see the ground again! But yet, it’s a rather ugly time if you really think about it.
For those of you who don’t live in places like this, let me explain. The snow melts and everything gets wet. Not a “fresh spring rain” kind of wet. Nope. Everything is muddy and messy. The sidewalks and streets have pools of water. The grass is brown and flat. The dead leaves from Autumn are clogging the drains in the street. What is left of the snow is black and brown and gross looking as it melts and uncovers all of the trash, old newspapers, pieces of the road, etc. hidden underneath. Animals killed on the highway and pushed off by the snowplows are suddenly lying out in the open. And all of this is half rotten because it has been slowly decomposing. I also forgot to mention that we had a few terrible ice storms this winter too. So all of the trees that fell down are still lying about because no one was really able to clean it up when it happened. Basically messy broken-ness is everywhere!
If you look at it with a critical eye, this is a terrible and unsightly scene.
And yet, most people are really happy about it!
Strangers in the elevator tell you how excited they are about the weather changing. The people you walk past seem to smile more and look hopeful. Your co-workers start making vacation plans. Kids can start playing outside with their bikes. It’s amazing!
Why do people react this way? It is irrational! Yet it makes perfect sense if you have hope and you know where this time of transition is leading us: summer!
God helped me realize today that this is very similar to what is going on in my soul, particularly during times of spiritual growth and transition. The more we attempt to follow Jesus and try to, “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48), the more we see the vile and unpleasant parts of ourselves. It can be so discouraging! For that reason we need to keep the end goal in mind: perfect union with God in Heaven.
Satan loves to tempt us to despair when something revolting may be uncovered by Lent, changes in our life, etc. So what can we do to fight back? Sharing our struggles with a trusted friend and/or a spiritual director is always a good choice. Often they can have a more realistic perspective than the one experiencing the struggle. Another is to combat the lie with the truth. “Lord, I know it seems as though I am regressing spiritually. But help me to know that you are with me as I am being purified.”
Finally, try to think of the hope we feel during the transition from winter to spring. Though it can seem disgusting, we are heading to something beautiful. God bless you!