The Cycle of Life
In order for new life to spring forth, nature needs the hidden time, the fallow time. So much happens under the surface: The seed dies, germinates, and then sends forth shoots long before the first stems or leaves appear above the surface.
If we aren’t watching closely, we may even miss the first new leaves, then as if all at once the whole plant just appears! Every spring I venture outside nearly every day just to see what tiny, new bit of green or flower has emerged—and I celebrate the new signs of life.
We Need the Death of Winter
Our culture is fearful of death, but nature teaches us that death and life go hand in hand. We need the death of winter in order for the spring bulbs and flowers to appear. Leaves fall from the trees and act as compost for the soil, providing nutrients the plants need to begin to grow the following year.
Nothing is wasted; it’s a cycle. But we live in a linear world, and all too often we overlook the cyclical nature of life.
To Everything There is a Season
The author of Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew Scriptures knew and celebrated this cycle. If you’re of a certain generation, you may even know this biblical author’s words as a song written by Pete Seeger (“Turn! Turn! Turn!”): “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born; a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap; a time to laugh, a time to weep….”
But we forget. Our lives are so linear that we don’t pay attention to our own cycles—among them the need for inward, fallow time, and a time for ideas and inner wisdom to germinate and spring forth.
Here is a prayer for such times:
“A Prayer for All Things Rising:”
For all things rising
out of the hiddenness of shadows
out of the weight of despair
out of the brokenness of pain
out of the constriction of compliance
out of the rigidity of stereotypes
out of the prison of prejudice;
for all things rising
into life, into hope
into healing, into power
into freedom, into justice;
we pray, O God,
for all things rising.
— Jan L. Richardson
With love and gratitude,
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