Goosebumps rise on my skin as I open the creaky old door from the house to the sun-drenched porch. A blast of arctic air sends a message that winter is fighting hard not to let go, not to lose control to spring. The two have been fighting it out for a couple of weeks now. Soon, hopefully, spring will win, and then before long spring will lose to summer.
A brilliant green layer of pollen covers the long boards on the porch and the old wicker chairs are spray-painted with this evil dust, which I brush away before I sit. Achoo!
Today, much of the world celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, whom Christians believe died, was buried, and returned to life three days later. Happy Easter. Last year at this time, we spoke about personal resurrection.
Memories of Easter flood my brain. I remember my crafter mom spending weeks before Easter covering her shoes with different fabrics so she would have “new” shoes for the holiday. She would also make a new Easter hat. We always dressed up for church, me in my bright red sport coat, with my 007 Secret Agent cap gun shoulder holster under my jacket. One of our grandparents would always make a feast centered around a giant chunk of meat. Coloring eggs was always fun, as was hunting for our Easter baskets. Our triplets are 17 and still love the tradition. Maybe we’ll hide them in their cars this year.
Easter signals a new season.
Spring is new birth, new life, new growth.
Summer is full, rich life.
Fall is aging.
Winter is death.
Each brings us a reminder to embrace them for what they are.
The longer I live, the wiser I tell myself I become, and I realize that the biggest hindrance to a rich, fully lived life is a focus on self.
In the season of spring, we’re full of energy, life, and self-confidence. A little cocky. When summer hits, success breeds more arrogance and belief in ourselves. We start to believe our own press.
Fall brings falling leaves, sagging midsections, backaches, often other health issues, and the unwanted realization that we’re not in control at all. We start facing the reality that once winter hits, we’d better have finished everything we wanted to get done. Suddenly it becomes evident that our cockiness, our arrogance, our over-inflated self-confidence never served us all that well and we need to focus on what’s truly worth the time we have remaining.
The reality is that we never had control, we just thought we did. And when we’re focused entirely on self, we miss the importance of reliance on the grand plan for our lives, and the joy that comes from serving others and serving our Master.
This isn’t a suggestion to give up positive thinking or to age out before your time, or to give in or give up, but I’m starting to understand that loss of self is where we begin to focus on what is intended for us, which is where the rich treasure lies. It too is a form of resurrection because when the “focus on self” dies, the true self is revealed.
PS: I have to admit that I’m pretty excited about getting to San Francisco for our big event next week. For me it’s like Thanksgiving with my plein air painter family. I’m truly looking forward to seeing everyone out there. If you want to watch the noise, you can follow me on Instagram @ericrhoads or Facebook @ericrhoads. (Facebook puts a limit on friends that I can’t change, but you can still follow my feeds.)