Spring is coming, birds and flowers are (slowly) waking up from hibernation. It seems that we humans, too, are rejuvenated. Darkness and all the bundling up slowly fades and we adopt a more active, more social and more joyful mode of life. We walked through Lent and now our souls are lifted up into new flourishing.
The natural and spiritual “parts” or our human project seem to walk hand in hand. This reminds me of many of the lessons I have learned during this spring at Stella Maris during the One Body in Christ – Youth Weekends. God created nature - or, in fact, the whole Universe (to give it a bit more grandeur), including us humans.
Advertisements tell us to strive to be more beautiful and more successful and to keep more busy. In fact, 90% of the people I know respond to the question “How are you?” with “Busy”.
We have abused the graces that we have received: cars, electricity, supermarkets and the internet have slowly lead to people running faster and faster, trying harder and harder to achieve security, peace and love; those age-old values that still drive us deep inside.
But the thing is, you cannot find peace and love by running. To stop seems to be the last thing our culture suggests we do. Instead all types of media outlets preach Seek and you will find, which is perfectly fine as it goes, but we might need to revise what it is we seek. After all, life is not about us seeking God, but much more importantly, about God seeking us.
Perhaps we should rather be than do; we just need to be in a position in which God can find us. If we are seeking to fill that famous hole in our souls (as St. Augustine puts it), our longing for God, with other things (all good in themselves and given us by God, but not to be worshipped as gods), that will lead us astray and leave us wanting more and more (of pleasure, honor, power etc.).
Like the woman at the well, we get thirsty again and again and come back to the well where we think we find what we need (whether that be a bigger car, a better vacation, a more beautiful woman or something else) until we find God, the source of the water that will quench our thirst indefinitely.
Religion is violently accused of “imposing” its prerogatives on others. People are too blind to see that actually, the societal pressure for abandoning religion is stronger than any religious apologetics at present. However, only a fool would put their final trust in the fallen humanity or the material things it has to offer. A mere glimpse of history, biology, psychology or any other area of our cultural inheritance reveals how unpredictable and untrustworthy humanity, let alone nature, has been and ever will be. (Take evolution, for example: a harsh lesson; a game of no mercy.)
God created a beautiful world. Just look at all the birds of the sky and trees of the forest, at sunrises and snow storms. We were created to look at this beauty and admire its creator. But how undervalued this is nowadays, as we are busy doing our little things, like the men in the cave of Plato’s reflection. The busier and more important we are in the cave, the less inclined we are and the less we want to step back and see our position and realize our tininess.
Spring comes every year (yes, even this year, I have faith that it will come!), and we need that seasonal cycle. By definition, spring is what follows winter, and in the same way we trust God to bring us into a new joy after sadness. He is faithful.
The seasonal cycle seems to be correspond to life in general. Isn’t it precisely through getting through winter - suffering and sadness in our lives - with faith and courage that will make spring even more spring-like?
Our society and culture will sell us a thousand means to dodge the winter, and we are free to buy into them, but perhaps what we need to do is to occasionally think things through before buying a pig in a poke, or sika säkissä, as we say in Finnish… No, I am not familiar with the pig trade either, but that saying is the opposite of what you see is what you get: if you don’t see what you are getting, odds are you are not making a smart decision.
For myself, I can certainly say that my struggles – however tiny they seem in retrospect and however gigantic they seemed at the time – have been the greatest graces in my life, the greatest opportunities for growth. Perhaps not the suffering as such, but the lessons learned through it. Perhaps there is no “dumb” suffering, all of it is redemptive and aimed at creating something better, and we just need to trust God to know how it all works. Right now my soul is full of joy, Christ is Risen! Let us rejoice, with nature, at the new life and the light!
About the author
Tea was born as a non-practising Lutheran in Raisio. In 2009 she moved to Canada seeking the truth in science, but stumbled onto God. He remained her second choice over skiing and orienteering for Sunday activities for years, but finally in 2015 Tea quit her job in Germany, and went off for an adventure with Lord Jesus, found Mother Mary on the way, and has never since looked back. 2016 she was confirmed Catholic at the Madonna House Apostolate in Ontario. Later God convinced her to stay in Finland after spending some months at Stella Maris and finding there a new spiritual home; physically she currently resides in Helsinki.