For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

 Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

I notice things. Maybe it’s my superpower. I can tell when my kids are lying by the slight twitch of an eyebrow. I can tell when my secret cookie stash has been disturbed by the barely perceptible movement of the box on the shelf. I can anticipate the signs of a cold coming on before the first sneeze. I’m always watching for signs.

But this hypervigilance can be exhausting. I’m never not “on”. I’m always braced for the next catastrophe, and quite honestly, I think it’s rewired my brain. In an attempt to reset myself recently, I took a walk outside my house to bask in the 60 degree February day. I thought I’d get a mental jump start on some landscape rearranging I wanted to do this spring. And then I noticed the daffodils.

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The daffodils had already bloomed because of the unseasonably warm weather. The tulips and hyacinth weren’t far behind. And instead of being overjoyed, I was disappointed and confused. How could I have daffodils when we hadn’t gone through Lent? I wasn’t yet ready to celebrate resurrection when I hadn’t done the hard work of repentance and remembrance. Things seemed out of whack; the seasons of my life were in disorder.

I was raised Catholic, and throughout my life I have observed the world liturgically, paying close attention to the rhythms in Church and nature. Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes verses above, understood these rhythms. After a lifetime of observation, he wrote about what he knew about the Earth’s cyclical nature. And I believe he could see the creator’s hand in all of it.

Richard Rohr said, “We’re already in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness.”

So noticing is something that helps strengthen my faith. That’s why during Lent, I ask myself: how are my relationships with my loved ones? Do they need tending? How do I really feel? What can I do to prioritize my mental and physical health? How is my spirit? What can I do to reconnect with my creator?

This noticing leads me to gratitude. I have so much to be thankful for. I have many gifts to use to serve my family and friends, and there are many ways I can open myself to being blessed by those around me. I also notice the changes in the Earth. As someone who has always lived in the Midwest, spring is a much anticipated and welcome sight. So when I stop to notice the flowers and hear the birds and smell the earth being turned over to plant, I am thankful.

What have you been noticing lately?

Insight and inspiration:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4: 6-8

The Invitation:

How do the earth’s rhythms inform your own? How do the seasons of the church guide your faith life? How does a disturbance in the seasons affect you?

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Christina Krost
Christina Krost is a United Methodist pastor’s wife, mother, educator, and Earth care advocate working for Faith in Place, the Illinois Affiliate of Interfaith Power & Light. She lives with her husband and three daughters in rural Illinois and blogs at 5Matches.com. When she’s not working, chasing children, or helping minister to churches she enjoys reading, writing, and sneaking fair trade chocolate in her closet so she doesn’t have to share.
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