Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Cycle of Life

Here in western Kentucky spring has exploded in a riot of color. Creamy white and blushing pink dogwoods along with bright purple redbud trees grab center stage while brilliant multi-colored tulips, irises, and azaleas happily fill in below. Carpets of lavender creeping phlox complete the picture, another masterpiece created by the Master Artist. Even after living fifty eight years, I continue to be amazed at the beauty that comes from deep within the ground after the dormancy of winter as the cycle of life continues.

Today my husband and I joined the throng of people at local garden centers looking for seeds and plants. We were mostly browsing, checking out what is on the shelves to see if any new and unusual plants have made it to our neck of the woods. Our main purpose today was to purchase a new tree. After two years of hoping our mimosa tree would recover from a late spring freeze, we finally accepted the reality the damage was done and the tree was dying. Last fall we cut it down and had the stump and roots ground up, making way for a new tree to be planted. After months of discussion we agreed to replace it with an Eastern Redbud. Not only do we enjoy the spring color but the size of the tree, even full grown, will nicely fit into the space without encroaching on our neighbor’s driveway. Another cycle of life – a tree dies and is replaced by a new one.

Reflecting on this on the drive home today, I was also reminded of our human cycle of life. You see, spring was my Mom’s favorite time to visit us here in Kentucky. For several years she and Dad would make the trip from West Virginia during spring break to spend the week with us. Numerous times they both commented of how they enjoyed seeing the redbuds and dogwoods blooming in the rolling hills of western Kentucky. Spring usually arrives here three to four weeks ahead of my childhood home.

It seems like only a couple of years since they were able to make that spring time trip. However, it has been well over twenty. Dad died nineteen years ago; Mom eleven. And although it appears as though the passing of time has been swift but unchanging, truth is I am many years older myself. Sure, my mind tells me I am still a thirty something mom, but then minds have a way of playing tricks on us! I am in the season of life my mother was those many years ago when she and Dad made their annual spring visit. A wife, mother, and grandmother. Loving life while bemoaning the swift trajectory toward the end of it. Yet, I am simply part of the cycle of life.

So what am I to do with this reflection? Become depressed with thoughts of dying and what my remaining years will be? The answer was in my mind before the question had time to form. Of course not!

Do I accept the cycle of life?
Yes I do.

Am I sad that I seem to have catapulted through so many years?
A bit.

However, with few regrets from the past I look forward to the rest of my life with anticipation. I am determined to wring every minute portion of living from it, to enjoy each day as the precious gift it is. To focus on leaving a legacy worthy of my time spent taking up space on this planet.

…and the life cycle will continue through my grandchildren…and their children…and their children…

Until one day we will all live for eternity. As the old hymn says, “When we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be!” May the life I live be one that will draw them to the Master Artist and His Son who died that we might live.


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