Spring cleaning for the soul
Tending to the work of our souls is like gardenwork. It requires our hands to get dirty, committing to the care of living things, and playing the waiting game. A reading of Ecclesiastes 3 readies the soil of our minds and our hearts through the poetic planting of seeds full of truth.
Verse 1-2 says: For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted. Before a harvest, one must endure the seasons of not yet having ripe fruit. Every season is for a reason. Every season serves a purpose. So often, we are in a season of winter, where the branches are bare and the fields aren’t fruitful. But, without winter, we won’t have spring. If we enter into seasons of dryness with the belief that God has placed us in it for a reason, then it becomes easier to see not only the coming beauty, but the beauty that is already there. God gives us the tensions and he gives us into grief so that we can experience a celebration at the harvest.
Verse 11 says: He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. There is mystery in the realm of being God’s beloved. There is a process to purification, to beautification. When a flower or a fruit blossoms, it starts out unseen, barely a seed. We are too impatient of a people, unwilling to wait on something that is worth the wait. We are too prideful of a people, wanting no mystery or element of surprise. But, the more we learn to grow at the pace of our planter, the more we will see a garden in full bloom.
Here we are, coming up to the door of spring, having just waved goodbye to the winter. Maybe it was flooded with salty tears, drying up the good soil. Perhaps it was constant wind tearing at the fragile leaves wishing for a tranquil climate. But, he has made everything beautiful in its time. So, I urge you not to look back and wish the difficult days forgotten forever. Instead, I challenge you to view those previous experiences as little victories that will propel you into the planting of buoyant buds. It is because of the frost that we are able to have fruitful flora and fauna.
One way to ensure the growth of the garden of your soul is through community. At the root of Christianity is a relationship. The fellowship that is founded in Christ between you and him results in an overflow, and that usually overflows into your other relationships. Maybe this is the spring to forgive someone for the sake of moving on in a healthy way, go deeper with an acquaintance or family member, apologize without the “sorry, but” apology we usually default to, recover and reconcile a relationship, or to finally introduce yourself to that new person.
Whatever kind of relationship this season may lead you to, I can promise that it will be both challenging and softening. When it comes to the work of who we are as broken people, it’s never easy work. It requires letting go of pride and fear, it requires time and effort, it requires a desire to pursue the kind of love that Jesus calls us to. He doesn’t call us to a love that is half there, but a love that knows and grows into fullness. Cultivating the kind of community that Christ calls us to also reveals the diversity of his body. A garden is like that: a beautiful myriad of color and character. So maybe this is the spring to work on the soil of your soul.