Spring and Lessons about Love and Loving

Photo from Unsplash.com in cooperation with Getty Images

Nature and the faiths of the world all take delight in springtime. Today I’d like to share some reflections on how faith deepens and widens my ability to see and participate in the rituals of spring and thereby deepen my desire to love.

Right around Easter, I was thinking of my brother John who died last August. During a morning meditation, I was missing him and reflecting on his Big Gentle Spirit. As the months go on, the term Big Spirit, which started as a way of helping myself and family members come to grips with his life and death, has deepened and widened. I found myself calling “God” Big Spirit because of the big spirit I saw in him.  John’s Spirit was gentle, had a light touch, never too serious, often playful, occasionally a wise guy, and very slow to speak unkindly of others. With these positive manifestations of his big spirit, John, nonetheless, wrestled with what he called the “big lonelies” or the “blues”.

As I was thinking about John and meditating on how Big Spirit was working in my life, I began to think of my parents and how they are now together with John in the sweet afterlife. As I made that connection, the thought occurred to me that Mom and Dad, like John, also had big spirits and big hearts. I thought about all the good they both did in the community and the ways they complemented one another in their loving and service. Mom often took charge and found the place where she thought some energy and good was needed.  Dad willingly supported her in these efforts.  He took very seriously the need to be a reliable provider and partner, so much so that I sometimes referred to him as “Old Reliable”.

Photo by Sebastian Leo Prado from UNsplash.com

Initially, I didn’t want to let myself say yes to the possibility that Mom and Dad had Big Spirits and Big Hearts like John’s. I knew it was true. But I hesitated in making that leap. I was holding on to some old ideas about their imperfections, and about what I perceived as my imperfect home life growing up. This meditation helped me see that my judging and being limiting about Big Spirit and Big Heart is not good for me. My holding back blocked positive memories and interfered with my ability to have loving relationships with my deceased parents or anyone.  

Of course, Mom and Dad had Big Spirits and Big Hearts. They abounded with love. And yes, they were human and imperfect. I saw more clearly that we all have Big Spirits and Big Hearts. I reaffirmed for myself my belief that there is more good and beauty in the world than there is pain and suffering.  I believe that good comes from our individual and collective Big Spirits and Big Hearts.

This mediation helped me see how negative thinking about others or myself blocked my view of all the Big Spirits and Big Hearts around me. Yesterday was a beautiful spring day. I left home early to walk to a nearby Twelve Step meeting. I listened intently to the birds as they sang and expressed love in their own sweet ways.  I relished the gentle warm spring breeze.  I entered the meeting praying to feel connected and one with those present.

I went to Sunday church service and thought the sermon had too many ideas to absorb. Yet, as I reflected then and today, I realized there were two points that were quite helpful to me. If I stayed focused on what was missing, I wouldn’t see the gift. I went for a walk and saw one Dad playing basketball with his son, patiently showing him how to dribble. And another father at the skateboard park showing a very small 5 or 6-year-old how to skateboard. There also was a mom patiently coaxing her cranky one-year-old into getting buckled in the car seat.

As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, it is not a coincidence that people of three faiths – Muslims, Jews, and Christians – pause in the spring to take stock of our human behavior. We inventory what is serving good and what isn’t; we celebrate our desire to pass from darkness to light. Some believers talk about how we are transformed by a LOVE bigger than us. I call that the work of our individual and collective Big Spirits and Big Hearts.

Each of us decides what we have faith in. Whatever you believe, and however you think or not about LOVE as a force, I invite you to enjoy all the beauty and mysteries of spring, of nature, and the human experience. Do you ever wonder what fuels and brings all this together?