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The Seasons of our Heart

I was listening to the rain thinking "I wish we could make it last!" Rainy days can be very rare here in The Valley of the Sun. Sometimes we go 100 days without any rain, then after a meek shower or two we go 120 days. Honestly, three or four straight months of sunshine can make a person a little nutty.

Over the years I abandoned classic landscaping (Bermuda grass and fruit trees) replacing them with native plants like brittle bush with is yellow flowers and bursage, which the native people use for incense. I have a variety of spiny cactus, several desert trees, and this spring I want to plant some creosote, for the way they smell when it rains.

Getting rid of the grass and keeping weeds out of our yard has been as much work as caring for a traditional lawn/garden, but now the yard is looking pretty good. It has shade and sunshine, flowers and foliage. There are birds and bees--even an occasional coyote.

But the rain doesn't stay. These desert plants survive by withering, turning brown, and dropping their dead leaves (which I have to rake up). Honestly, most of the year it doesn't look very good, but the plants survive, coming back to life even sprouting from seeds whenever the rains return.

Easter reminds me of Scripture, where it says "Look! The winter is past! Rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth..." The potential for life, growth and fruit is always there--it comes in due season.

So how do we live in dry country? During Holy Week I was thinking about how Secular Franciscans don't run away to sheltered shrines and monasteries but build the Kingdom right in the middle of the hot and troubled world. As much as I like taking time off for a retreat, the Spirit is teaching me to build a quiet place inside myself, something real and enduring I can take with me wherever I go. When someone calls to complain about fraternity, I remember that place where life shelters inside of me. When I have six things on my To-Do list and somebody brings me a seventh (or an eighth) I remember that my hope, my peace and my Lord are all with me, right here, right now, ready to build.

The Season of the Heart is built by labor, trust and generosity. There is Christmas in it; Easter too. It has its Lent and its Advent. It is the season when our hearts bloom and bear fruit. It is the time when our Christianity develops and brings delight. Sometimes its a long journey to the next rain, but when those purple clouds gather and the wind begins to cool, we know that the rain is coming as it always comes. We know that God is always with us, bringing life, nourishment and energy.

Remember, because we are always growing there will always be surprises, new challenges, and the promise of joy. Celebrate where you are every day. That's where the miracles happen...!


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