The sound of strong winds blowing is kinda eerie, like something out of a horror movie. Winds are causing a slight bend in the poetic palm trees, and the water is splashing against the dock as whitecaps fill the choppy water in our view. A morning walk on the dock felt like hurricane force against my wet jacket. Spring really is roaring in like a lion. 

I can remember spring days growing up. We would go out in short sleeves at the first sign of warmth, even though it was still very cold. But we didn’t care, because we were so tired of the frigid temps. The first sunny day was an invitation to pretend it was summer. I was always ready for winter to end — but of course it would get cold again and often snow as late as May or June. 

Last week, when I was in Austin, the bluebonnets were already thick and lining the roadways with a carpet of blue, while orange “Indian paintbrushes” were adding color against the blue. Pink trees were in full blossom, and bright green buds were already coming out.

Seasons have always been a metaphor for life. Spring is a fresh start. 

The cycle starts with spring … new birth.

Then summer … life.

Fall is aging.

Winter is decay and death.

The leaves fall and rot, and fertilize the soil. And the cycle of life begins again.

What Needs to Be Flushed Out?

Though we only get one chance at the cycle, what in your life needs to be flushed out with winter? 

What needs to be reinvigorated and rebirthed with spring?

Have you ever looked back on the mistakes you’ve made in your life and wished you had a second chance? 

Is there still time?

I think about relationships I’ve botched that could still be salvaged. Things may have gone bad because of a heated moment or an out-of-control rant. I’ve given up on people from my past because of their behavior in these moments — or perhaps my own, if I’m willing to admit it. 

But what if you were to be forgiving of a bad moment and give that person a second chance? What if you were to ask forgiveness, to offer some grace? 

Am I holding onto a grudge because of my pride or ego?

Am I thinking, “They need to apologize to me. They wronged me, I didn’t wrong them.”

What if you did do them wrong, but you’re not willing to admit it?

I can think of a few times when I felt I clearly was right and others were wrong, but I’ve realized I was really the problem. It can take a big person to admit that.

Thinking back to some great relationships that ended, do I miss them, or am I being indignant because they made a mistake? 

Is it possible you were the problem?

Is it possible they have changed?

Is it possible you were both having a bad day?

People change, people mature, people grow.

Is it time to plant a new seed?

Who are the first people who come to mind when you think about relationships gone sour?

Who do you feel is being unreasonable with you? Who feels you are being unreasonable with them?

I have a few people I’ve written out of my life who I loved and missed, but who had disappointed me. My ego got in the way of continuing the relationship because I perceived they’d hurt me in some way.

Are you willing to heal wounds, forgive them? Or just try to repair the relationship, not expecting an apology?

It’s spring. Let’s bring new life to old relationships that were once good.

Families should never be divided, no matter what. Families are all we have.

Friendships don’t have to end, and can become stronger by adding a little humility and grace. 

Let go of your pride. Relationships are more important than being right.

Eric Rhoads

PS: Later this week, I’ll be seeing spring from a whole new perspective as we make our way to Japan to experience the cherry blossom season. We’ll be hosting a group of plein air painters to tour and paint Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto for almost two weeks. As a result, the next couple of weeks will be “Best of Sunday Coffee.” But if you wish to follow my trip, I’ll be posting on Instagram (@ericrhoads)  and  on Facebook at /ericrhoads.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!