I was gathered together with a few of my girlfriends around a table with candles, and pies, and Mason jars filled with ice cubes melting in the kind of beverage that saturates your soul best — water. The sky was 38 shades of beautiful and china plates held sweetness in the finest forms.

There were slips of brown paper tucked in between the candles and succulents. Slips of paper filled with beautiful words written in whimsical handwriting with question marks, and discussion points to guide our conversation. We were celebrating friendship, fresh fruit pies, and the season of summer.

I came home that evening with my soul and spirit filled to the brim as I thought about those questions — particularly the one about seasons. Seasons where we’ve been refined, where we’ve sought after purpose and less of ourselves, and where we’ve grown in ways we never thought possible but don’t always see the growth until the season is long over. The discussion of these periods of time in our lives brought so much emotion with it that I couldn’t get it out of my mind several hours later.

Why is it that we often want out of the period of time we’re in, just to get the next? Do we think it’s going to be better than what we have right now? Are we anticipating something greater instead of seeing what’s beautiful and wonderful about the present? Sadly, I think so.

This past spring was one of those seasons where I found myself thankful for the fact it was here, but questioned why winter seemed to be hanging on with tiny threads of unbelievable strength. The snow had finally melted, but with the melting came the floods. All of the moisture that I knew would help things grow seemed to be overwhelmingly brutal as waters rose, and the sunshine just wasn’t quite strong enough to win. I chose to wear a yellow sweater for days in hopes to bring the light with me that I knew was lacking, but a yellow sweater can only do so much.

As I answered the question that evening about what season I liked best, I remember wishing I had been given the question in advance to strategically plan out a really great answer, but in all honesty, conversations that work themselves through our lives without a plan often show us what we are really made of. So, rather than complaining about the winter and spring I thought would never end, I shared with my treasured friends around the table that night how I have found contentment in each season.

I have lived, thrived, and sometimes barely survived the seasons in my life by simply paying attention to the beauty in the places my feet take me each day. It’s not always easy or even right, but instead of wishing for what isn’t and giving up on that which stares me right in the face, I focus on where to look and how to look to find the goodness that has been there all along.

During what seemed to be never-ending, ridiculously long winter and spring, I watched calves grow and the hay shed empty. I cheered about warm days and soft skies. I savored the green shoots of grass and wheat that lined the road to home. I embraced the quiet and still of our hillside that rolled through like clouds. I splashed in puddles and thanked God for sunshine, while I walked through the barn pens in muck boots. I saw my home from different perspectives and angles, tore out old flower beds and created new beauty along our fence, and played happy music that kept my spirits alive. I sorted cows and calves, I sifted thousands of rocks from a dirt pile, and prayed that my camera could capture the beauty found when the light was just perfect. I looked for the good every single day, and although it didn’t make the season perfect, it did keep my eyes focused on that which was longing to be seen.

I don’t have any idea what kind of season you’re going through right now, but the next time you find yourself on the answering side of a question about the different times of year and which one might possibly be your favorite, I think you should consider answering like this:

This one.

Yes, this season that I’m living right now — it is my favorite.

———

Lindsay Murdock lives and teaches Echo.

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