This time of year my thoughts turn to birth and rebirth. The crocuses poke their heads out of the cold earth that has only recently lost its mantle of snow. Flowers of every color and shape begin to bloom. Pinks, purples, yellows, and whites are sprinkled across the ground even before the trees consider unfurling their tender young leaves.
It was planned that way, you know. In the dreariest, drabbest, most depressing days of the year, when the rain doesn’t stop and the ground is muddy, the most startling proof of the coming abundance of summer reveals itself. Those who are “religious” say that God reveals himself (herself) at this time of year more than any other time of year. This is when the promise of the future comes to light.
Those of you who know me well know I don’t do a lot of God gushing. I believe that “God” exists, but that God is not an old guy sitting on a throne watching people praise him (how boring would THAT be). I think the great religious traditions of the world are all shooting for the same thing – a peace and harmony to life, a belief that there is something better than the mundane and often painful lives we experience. I believe what we call God is our collective consciousness. God is us – all of us, humans, plants and animals – we’re all connected and the idea of God is the amalgam of our pooled wisdom. Heaven comes from the belief that we can be compassionate and loving and kind, and Hell is simply the absence of that connection and love. Jesus, aka Issa in the eastern spiritual traditions, was a great teacher who wanted us all to put love, compassion and forgiveness at the forefront of our experience. He absolutely got that right. I believe the Buddha did as well, as did Muhammad. I don’t think that any one tradition can hold sway over any other tradition, but that they all have value and can make our human existence more relevant. I’ve always found it amusing that the sacred Christian holiday of Easter was named after the pagan goddess of fertility and renewal, Eastre. Fertility and birth become rebirth and new life. It’s a nice connection between spiritual traditions.
This time of year I tend to get impatient with my life. I itch to break free of the dreariness of winter and move forward. It always happens around Easter, when resurrection is in the air. I question what I am doing with my life and wonder how I can change it so there is less dreary, repetition and a little more living going on. I want to LIVE, not exist.
Yesterday as I was driving home from a lunch date, I saw a daffodil blooming in the most ridiculous place. It was on a rocky space at the side of the road, suspended several feet up from the ground. It was an awkward place, but the bloom was vigorous and determined to show the world its beauty. That got me thinking about the maxim, “Bloom where you are planted.”
I always want to bloom somewhere else. What I am doing is never quite good enough. I am forever tormenting myself with the questions, “How can I make my life more meaningful?” and, “What am I supposed to be doing here?” Especially as I approach the age of 50, I realize that my time here on earth is about at the midpoint and I feel a push to figure it out and head in the right direction. However, the daffodil makes me wonder if I’m not already in the place I should be, doing the things I should be doing. Is my work with Special Ed children the work that will make my life have meaning? Does the fact that I love to feed people matter? Are my relationships with my husband and my daughter going to change the world in any way? What is my purpose? Why am I here? Have I been planted in this barren place, on rocky ground, so I can bloom and show the possibilities of life to everyone I encounter? Is this what my life plan is all about? I don’t have the answers to those question yet. I may never have the answers.
Thank you to whoever planted that daffodil in that odd place. You have started a dialogue.
Happy Easter everyone!
P.S. The Easter lily is actually a summer-blooming plant. It is forced to bloom in the Spring for the Easter market. Take from that what you will…