I am aware that writing this post is deeply ironic.
I haven’t had anything to write about recently. As someone whose primary spiritual practice finds its outlet in the written word, that’s a pretty big deal. Or at least it feels like it to me. Even writing emails isn’t a lot of fun. That, combined with a colleague conversation about spiritual flatness made me think how seasonal are our lives. My season is one of unbridled change. I am certainly not the only one.
What I expect from myself is to be a spiritual assembly line, turning out a consistent spiritual product from identical parts day after day, month after month, year after year. But we’re not an assembly line, we’re not spiritual machines, we’re people. And as much as we might like to be divorced from the natural forces in our world, we are at our root creatures and our lives look more like seasons than factories. So it really shouldn’t come as any surprise when our wells run dry, and the leaves drop, and the ground freezes, and everything seems to stop.
Even the waves, beating their relentless rhythm in our blood take a breathe, pause. There is beauty in the winter of the soul, but it feels different than the lush days of summer. Sharper, thinner, it is about rest and breath, not relentless making. We can be impatient with ourselves, we can try our best to force and twist our unwilling souls fast forward into spring but the results, I suspect, are always less than satisfying.
And why not? The whole natural order takes a winter Sabbath, slows down. The leaves die, the buds rest, the flowers do not open; until it is time. Until rest has done its work, and warm sneaks in and the rain falls and suddenly life comes again of its own eager accord, without us doing a single thing. This Lent I will be challenging our parish to Sabbath, and perhaps we would all be wise to recapture the ability to let the ground lie fallow, even the ground of our soul.
Go ahead. Rest.
I will try, though I may fail.