The Time Between The Seasons
Winter and spring seem to be engaged in some kind of cosmic battle in this part of the world. The bitter cold and biting wind has been followed by several days of relentless rain, and the daffodils that bloomed in yesterday’s warmth and sunshine are being covered in snow as I write.
The transition between seasons is rarely smooth. It’s like a disorienting dance back and forth between old and new. On some days, the next season seems so close you can almost taste it. On others, it may as well be a million miles away. Frustration and confusion flare up like unexpected March storms.
We’re anticipating Easter in this season, and I find it interesting that the two women who first discovered the resurrected Jesus thought he was the gardener. Gardeners understand all about changing seasons. They are not afraid of the death that accompanies winter, because they recognise that this is exactly where new life begins. While the seasons are in flux, gardeners are content to be down on their knees in the dirt, getting better acquainted with the earth. They watch and they wait, knowing that under the ground the darkness is doing its work. Gardeners trust that though we cannot force it to happen, the seasons will change in their own good time. Even when the winter has been long and arduous, spring will surely come again, as it has done every year since time began.
Still, living with the ambiguity of not knowing how the next phase of life will play out is tough. Suspense, by its nature, produces tension and anxiety. We know there’s no going back to the previous season, but the next one hasn’t materialised yet. It’s gritty and uncomfortable.
Changes of season mostly involve loss too, in all its various forms. Embracing something new requires us to let go of what went before and grieve what we have lost. Maybe that’s what these in between times can offer us — the space to get down in the mud and mess of our emotions, feel our feelings and finding our way back to healing and wholeness again.
Above all, we are called to ‘trust in the slow work of God.’ Perhaps if we recognise the value of the spaces between the seasons, it can help us to ‘accept the anxiety of feeling…in suspense and incomplete.’ Even in the midst of our darkest days, the seeds of new life are being planted and taking root. And every death holds within it the potential for a spectacular and glorious resurrection.