Journeys of the Spirit

Not all journeys are physical.

This is not an earth-shattering thought.  And I of course am not the first or only one to make that observation.  But here it is, February.  The sky is gray; and our new snow, the first real snow of this Connecticut winter, is melting in 40 degree temperatures.  There is time to reflect.

We have reached mid-winter.  The daylight hours are noticeably longer.  I am happy for this slow melt of the 8 or so inches of snow we have just received.  I can almost hear the water soaking deep into the ground, hopefully delivering much needed water to the deep roots of our trees.  Occasionally an icicle breaks free from the roofline and tumbles to the porch stones below, shattering itself into little ice shards, and left to melt.

Christians have just entered their Lent season.  I am quite sure that other of the world’s religions have a similar spiritual/ritualistic approach to spring.  Forgive me for not knowing them or stopping to research them.  Looking fundamentally at the period between now and the time when spring will bring its promises to that same doorstep that just broke up an icicle – roughly 40 days, a significant time period in the Bible and I suspect elsewhere – now always seems to me a good time to go inward, while staying attentive to outward.  To dig deeper below the surface of our daily lives.  To postpone spring wet dreams and open our eyes to the wonders of the life cycle.

I have been studying with a small group at my church, the nature of spirituality in a secular world.  Those who know me well know that I have spent a good amount of on and off time over the past years delving inward, exploring my beliefs, seeking ways to find (and spread) peace, forgiveness, love, sacredness.  My nature has always been to explore – whether it is the world around me, both near and far, or the depths of the (my) human soul.

The period between now and “Easter”, known in Christendom as Lent, is a fine time to look more closely to what is not only inside of us, but around us.  To see details and fineries that are obscured by the rich layers of color, smell, and texture of the other three seasons.  It is a wonderful time to explore the underlying structures, laid bare by winter’s cold.

I share with you here, “The Journey To Spring,”* a 40-day reflection on those structures.  I would be delighted to think that many of my jasjourney friends may be going along on this adventure with me!  If you are coming in ‘late’ to the schedule, just tack the early days onto the end – as we here in the Northeast know, spring never arrives on the calendar day, March 20.

*Reprinted from The Touchstones Project, edited by Rev. Nancy Bowen and Rev. Kirk Loadman-Copeland.