Welcome to April: the time of the semester when the weather is finally warm enough to enjoy and everyone is far too busy running around to enjoy it.
The seasons have shifted from winter to spring. When they shift from spring to summer, some pretty drastic changes will take place — the most obvious being graduation for some of us.
With change and goodbyes on the horizon, it’s very tempting to look at the future with a combination of overexcitement and trepidation. Yet both, if extended too far, can lead us to err.
I’d like to propose that we approach changes of season in life the way we do changes of season in weather. Each has its time and place, and each must make way for the next when its run is complete.
This winter, I was anxiously waiting for spring like almost never before. It seemed as if the snow would never stop and the barrenness would continue forever. Yet it wasn’t until I actually took the time to contemplate the beauty of the wild and cold winter that I knew I was ready for it to end. The season necessitated my acknowledgement of its excellence before I could move to the next one.
And yet how often do we cling to winter even when spring is present in full force? How often do we cling to the bitterness and darkness of the past when the sunshine is waiting outside to warm us?
We often do this with seasons of our lives. We don’t appreciate them while they’re in the present, and then once they’re gone, we cling to the memory as if that can be brought back to life.
As cliché as this sounds, it’s in letting go of the season we’ve come to love that it retains its sweetness. We get nostalgia over the time we’ve shared with certain groups of people in specific settings, and we wish we could revisit those moments. Yet because they’re in the past, they seem brighter than they probably were in the present when we were experiencing them.
We ought to carry enough reverence for the past that we can let it remain there rather than disrespecting both it and the present by making them one.
I know I definitely can’t claim to have mastered the art of falling in love with the present. Yet there certainly have been key moments where I have stopped and seen the fruit from the past in the present and am profoundly grateful to be where I am now rather than where I was a few years ago.
Sometimes our hearts ache for those moments we’ll never have again, whether in certain places or with certain groups of people. Even if you gathered the same people into the same place again years later, it could never be the same.
However, hope remains in the truth that the friendships we’ve made along the way and the lessons we’ve learned will stay with us. New seasons do not eliminate the old — they build upon them and reconfigure them. The melting snow and winter rain bring about new life for the spring to bloom.
We are called to strive toward a balance of all three times: reverence for the past, contentment in the present and peace regarding the future. When we’re overexcited for the future, we’re unable to recognize the beauty in the present. When we’re fearful of the future, we discount the incredible steps we’ve made in the past.
Let’s live the seasons of our lives like we live the seasons of the weather.