Dormancy

A few months ago I was asked by the retreat leader to reflect on my spiritual season. In what season am I living spiritually? I couldn't get beyond the fact that Houston, Texas was experiencing its first winter in years. Maybe partly because of the four seasons in nature, our spirits too have seasons of energy, growth, denouement, and dormancy.

Discerning spiritual seasons can serve us well as we become aware of the center from which we give and serve and offer our ministry. Acknowledgment of our inner reality is a step in first doing no harm to self or another. Especially if we're at a place of ebbing energy, then offering gentleness and compassion to ourselves is easily blown off. We're supposed to be there for others, right?

I once knew a gardener who cared for an amazing array of roses, among other foliage. The trouble with our weather, he said, was that roses never had a rest, a break, a time when they were not on. Keeping the roses going throughout the year was a struggle because of the lack of a real winter.

Pastors, too, are always on. However, there is a season for everything. We may not want to be in the season of waiting because our first inclination maybe to do something. Waiting doesn't necessarily play well on anyone's success meter or effectiveness grid. But if we as clergy leaders are not able to name our own reality, then what, finally, do we have to offer to anyone else?

It's the miracle of life sustaining life that has gripped me this year. A winter of dormancy made this spring especially vivid, something to savor. Which is what our spiritual life can be, something to enjoy, whatever season in which you find yourself.

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