Spirit Matters: When your inner season and the outer don’t correlate

Jerrilyn Zavada

I know I’ve said this about all the seasons, but early spring is one of my favorite times of the year.

It fascinates me how, every year, all of Creation is rebirthed after the darkness and death of winter.

As we see in spring’s unfolding, winter’s forced interiority has an important purpose. Winter gives our souls the deep rest they need to be restored and ultimately begin spring with a renewed sense of life, vitality and purpose.

I am fortunate to be able to write from a space where I can watch the greening of the Earth take root and grow each day. I often lean back in our office chair and gaze out the window, watching and joining in with nature and its various creatures, simply being themselves. Most of the time I do this while my 10-year-old black Labrador snores on his pillow on the floor behind me.

From day to day, and week to week, I notice the transformation our yard makes from stark bareness to resplendent verdancy.

In the giant old tree outside the window, I watch the budding and blossoming and bursting forth of new blooms. I watch as birds congregate to eat the seed with which my husband fills the birdfeeder hanging from one of its branches. I am amused by the way the birds often jockey for position to get to the front of the line to eat.

I watch as our line of honeysuckle and lilac bushes gradually fill out in their green splendor, and eagerly anticipate the blossoming of the lilacs. (Soon, very soon).

Yellow daffodils have poked through the ground, and while out walking the dog, I notice little green sprouts shooting through the ground in the garden, the ground that just several weeks ago was frozen solid.

I feel the magic in the air, and the quickening of the spirit that animates my body.

The world is indeed alive with the sound of music.

This morning as I looked out the window, contemplating this, I thought of those among us who might not be feeling the vitality of spring this year.

Maybe they are in the midst of a season of dark depression.

Maybe they are preoccupied with scraping up enough each week to feed their families and themselves.

Or, worse yet, maybe they have lost a loved one during the winter months, and are navigating the labyrinth of grief that loss has triggered.

Many of them likely feel confused and disoriented, as the inner season they are in directly contradicts the outside season the Northern Hemisphere is in.

When in any one of these states, it is difficult, if not impossible to hear that sound of music wafting through the springtime air.

We all know through personal experience these dark periods have their own timeline, and that timeline most often cannot be hurried.

As Christians around the world observe the most sacred days of their calendar year this weekend: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Resurrection Sunday, we sit with the paradox of life and death, darkness and light.

We have experienced in our own lives how in life there is death, and in death, there is life. In darkness there is light, and in times of light, there are shadows of darkness.

We sit in that liminal space, and we simply breathe, and pray.

Our faith tells us death does not have the final word.

The greening of the earth this spring illustrates it.

If you are in the midst of a season of what seems like endless inner darkness, hold on, and have faith.

Your spirit will find its way back to the light, and a bursting forth of new vitality through the thawing ground of your life.

It always will.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,” John 1:5.

SPIRIT MATTERS is a weekly column by Jerrilyn Zavada Novak that examines experiences common to the human spirit. Contact her at jzblue33@yahoo.com.