Spring is here! And with it comes flowers, buds on trees, green grass, warmer days, and a sense of new beginning. Life is blooming all around us. It is a comforting time of year where we can say farewell to winter coats, snow, ice, and frigid days. By this time, most people are ready for the long winter months to end and truly enjoy this change of season. We are ready to see the sun and feel its warmth. We take pleasure at hearing the birds twittering in the trees once again. We feel refreshed, renewed and experience a sense of rebirth.
As the scenery changes around us, our attitudes may change also. We typically get busier as we take advantage of longer days. We take more walks. We plant flowers, we prepare the mower, we plan for updates on our homes and we attack spring cleaning. There’s something about spring that makes us more energetic and more productive as we take deep breaths and “smell the flowers.”
What can we do for ourselves and our families spiritually? How do we harness this energy and become a better version of ourselves this time of year?
See the Dirt
Have you ever sent a child to clean his room? He will emerge only a few moments later, seemingly finished with his task; but when you peek your head in, you see a sock sticking out from under the bed or board game pieces spilling out from the closet. When you point them out to him, he looks back in wide-eyed amazement – he honestly didn’t notice them!
We can be guilty of the same oversight. We often don’t see the stain of sin on our souls. Taking time to examine our conscience will help us recognize areas that need improvement. It’s only when we own our sins that we can truly begin to change the behavior that led to them. Vow not to let the dirt take over.
One ritual of spring cleaning is emptying out drawers and closets of the clothes, toys and other items that don’t fit or that we don’t use anymore. The result is a double win: we feel lighter and those less fortunate benefit from our donation. Perhaps it’s time to cast off a few pounds of excess baggage of the soul as well. Let’s vow to strip away feelings of anxiety, stress and doubt and replace them with feelings of peace, joy and gratitude. And while we’re at it, let’s offer a bit of grace to those who have wronged us and forgive them in the same way we have asked God for forgiveness for ourselves.
“Jesus is there…and He receives you with so much love.”
– Pope Francis
When I was growing up, my parents rightfully expected me to obey house rules. One area of leeway though was my bedroom; as long as it was kept in fairly good order, it was my domain. I remember rearranging the furniture so often my dad used to tease me that I better not wake up in the night to go to the bathroom or I would forget where the bed was on my way back! As an adult, I still take pleasure in rearranging furniture. There’s something about placing an item in a new spot that makes it look fresh and new.
We can do the same spiritually. As creatures of habit we often find it hard to change things, but even little changes can make a world of difference. What bad habits can we stop? What good habits can we create?
“For better or for worse, habits can shape our destiny. We all have habits, good and bad. Negative habits of the mind, body, and spirit are easily formed. Positive habits of the
mind, body, and soul require great intentionality and persistence.
But once gained they are like ground that is won forever.”
– Matthew Kelly
Isn’t it amazing how we automatically make commitments for work, but expect time for our family and friends to magically appear? One of the true joys of spring is sitting on the porch rekindling relationship with neighbors whom we haven’t seen throughout the winter months. For some reason we tend to allow for that time in the spring. Let’s remind ourselves to continue to give relationships the nourishment they deserve. Whether we have dozens of friends or only a few, we’re so blessed to have good people in our lives! Take a moment to tell everyone how much they mean to you.
“A loyal friend is like a safe shelter; find one, and you have found a treasure.” – Sirach 6:14
St. Francis de Sales Parish Catholic Church
40 Granville St.
Newark, Ohio 43055