Posts Tagged ‘joy’

spring winds

March 5, 2012

March has arrived in all its blustery glory. The saying is that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Unfortunately, here in Nebraska, this lion is slow and grouchy and usually he crouches and leaps his way into April as well. Perhaps he eats the lamb, or frightens it into hiding, (although lambs aren’t smart enough to hide . . .) but I digress.

Even though March is still cold and the wind is annoyingly persistent, just the calendar turning from February to March brings me hope. Our wind chimes are being beaten to death, our stacked and covered yard furniture gets pushed along the porch, covers billowing loudly and our poor trees are being given a brutal lashing! The weather is nastier than all of December through February combined, minus the snow, but that could still come!  Even then, I’m hopeful because each day brings me one step closer to the warmth and flowering beauty of True Spring (which for me is warm 72-75 degree days, sunny, barely breezy and perfectly pleasant, which amounts to about 10 days total in a year, only making me savor them more!)

It seems my life has imitated the weather this year. My heart has taken a beating – losing my trainer, and then my brother; almost losing my other brother and all this after having lost my father a year ago. Life is hard; real life isn’t for wimps. It’s brutal sometimes and the winds feel as though they will be my undoing, but here I am, clinging to life. The sap inside begins to loosen, soften and flow and I find that warmth is returning to my spirit and life to my bones!

Springtime reminds me there is always hope. Life after death, songs after silence, laughter after tears. Life as it was may never be again, but life is still good despite it’s difficulty.

The advent of Spring always retrains my focus. It reminds me to look for the hopeful and celebrate the good. I will always remember the sorrow, but I choose to leave it behind and find new joy. As the crocuses sprout up and the forsythia bloom, my heart begins to delight in all things new and fresh and lovely as I anticipate the days of True Spring which will inevitably come!

doing and undoing

January 19, 2010

I am a collector of quotes. Not intentionally. I mean, I don’t set out on any given day to pursue finding great quotes. I gather them as I hear or read them. Sometimes I hear something on the radio and I grab a pen out of my purse and repeat it out loud to myself until I get to a stop light so I can quickly jot it down. I’ve written on receipts, paper bags, my hand…. My collection of bits of paper with the words of others scribbled on them is in one of three places: stuffed in a file in my drawer, or arranged in messy little stack next to my chair in my little room where I write. Sometimes I get them typed into the computer and filed in a quote folder. Not very often though. So I end up rifling through my folder and stack to find the one I’m looking for.

One of my favorites (that I just found in the stack by my chair) is by Horace Mann. (I didn’t know who he was either, so don’t feel bad.) I just read about him on Wikipedia and learned he was self-taught because of his poor upbringing. He made use of the library and when he was 20, went to university, graduating in only 3 years as the valedictorian! Pretty impressive, especially since he never had more than 6 weeks of school in any given year. Yet he became a reformer of education almost 200 years ago! He’s known for this saying:

“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”

Horace was also the brother-in-law of Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of The Scarlet Letter and The House of The Seven Gables. I imagine they had some enjoyable dinner conversations!

Here is the quote I’ve written on a scrap of paper and refer back to time and again. I’ve shared it with a few friends and I’ll share it with you. It’s a great reminder of how we should live our lives.

“Doing nothing for others is the undoing of one’s self. We must be purposely kind and generous, or we miss the best part of existence. The heart that goes out of itself gets large and full of joy. This is the great secret of the inner life. We do ourselves the most good doing something for others.”  H. Mann

This truth brings to mind some words of Jesus spoken over two-thousand years ago! “Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will keep it.” (Luke 17:33) It’s so true! Giving our lives away just brings more life and joy and satisfaction. It’s a win-win!