Is it Spring yet? Even though the calendar says it’s not, I’m seeing early signs here in Toledo. Robins hopping gingerly through patches of snow. Sprigs of green grass daring to poke through at the edges of ice.
What I especially love about the transition of winter into spring is the sense of letting go and letting grow, so to say. It’s great that this transition occurs during Lent, a time for some spiritual spring cleaning and renewal.
I have to be able to let some things go in order to grow. Maybe it’s a spiritual practice that was really meaningful at a certain time in my life, but as my relationship with God deepened, I had to be open to change so as to foster new growth in the relationship.
And change can be challenging as well as exciting. Moving from the "what was" to the "what is not yet" can be unsettling. And somewhere in the midst of change, I'm bound to wonder if anything is different as a result, or if I was better off before.
These kinds of questions led me to adopt a new spiritual practice a few years ago -- reflecting on a poem that gave words to the challenges and excitement of transition. Maybe the poem will offer words that will be helpful to you!
What particular prayers or poems or spiritual practices do you find especially meaningful in seasons of transition?
Yes it hurts
Yes it hurts when buds burst.
Why otherwise would spring hesitate?
Why otherwise was all warmth and longing
locked under pale and bitter ice?
What fever for the new compels it to burst?
Yes it hurts when buds burst,
there is pain when something grows
and when something must close.
Yes it hurts when the ice drops melts.
Shivering, anxious, swollen it hangs,
gripping the twig but beginning to slip –
its weight tugs it downward, though it resists.
It hurts to be uncertain, cowardly, dissolving
to feel the pull and call of the depth,
yet to hang and only shiver—
to want to remain, keep firm –
yet want to fall.
Then, when it is worst and nothing helps,
they burst, as if in ecstasy, the first buds of the tree,
when fear itself is compelled to let go,
they fall in a glistening veil, all the drops from the twig,
blinking away their fears of the new,
shutting out their doubts about the journey,
feeling for an instant how this is their greatest safety,
to trust in that daring
that shapes the world.