Can spring’s confidence inspire our own renewal?

Spring will be in full bloom soon (we hope!) as Easter announces this life-changing season of renewal, rebirth and reawakening.

Predictably, the snow melts. Predictably, the gardens flower. Predictably the grass morphs from brown to green.

Unpredictably, I’m sad.

Maybe I’m jealous of the steadfast way that spring always triumphs over winter. How patient it is to wait for mounds of ice to slip away. How determined it is to beautify the harsh scars the storms have left behind.

Spring adapts; it finds a way to grow despite its losses.

I wish I could be more like spring.

Nature takes its own time — recovers from setbacks at its own pace. But eventually it prevails, its cycle of renewal complete. Indeed, its unrelenting pursuit of its goal is a thing of beauty.

Snow plows rearranged more than one of my mulch beds; yet the bulbs survived. One storm snuck up on spring’s early attempt to debut its daffodils, generously coating the three inches of leaves with two inches of snow. Yet they still bloomed, un-thwarted.

The winters of life can take so much from us. What was once full is now empty. Children launch, as they should. Friends scatter or become scant as new interests pull them out of routines that no longer are. And what was once a bustling nucleus of activity struggles to find its own orbit.

I admire spring’s stamina, its undercurrent of energy that fuels its pursuit. It knows its strength, its destiny. Yet, even in its predicable cycle, it changes, adjusting to its circumstances.

Maybe it’s not a cycle after all — maybe it’s a spiral, adapting and moving forward and upward. Maybe where we are now compared to where we used to be isn’t that important. Maybe what’s more important is what’s ahead.

In his book, “Self-Renewal,” one of my father’s favorite writers, John Garner, writes, “No society renews itself unless its dominant orientation is to the future.” What’s true for society in general is true for individuals in particular, Dad noted.

Perhaps all we need to do is shift our focus toward the future, beyond goals to dreams. There’s a difference. As the writer John Maxwell once reflected, Martin Luther King didn’t say, “I have a goal;” he said, “I have a dream.” There is power in dreams.

But my father’s words offer the best advice: “Keep your dreams bigger than your memories.” He seemed to say it more with each passing year.

Beyond renewal, spring is a time for creation, discovery, dreams and the opportunity to grow in new ways.

Maybe its predictable and confident journey can inspire ours, transforming a sad emptiness into a reflective space, free and open to new untethered pursuits.

Steadfastness. Transformation. Discovery. All the stuff of which Easter is made.

Happy Easter. Happy Spring. Happy exploration of empty spaces ready to be filled.

This column was originally published as part of my “Looking Homeward” series at