Resurrection. Easter. Spring. New beginnings.
If ever there was a time for giving one's head a shake it's now. Governments, from provincial to global, are changing, people are rioting in the streets, environmental disasters grab the headlines. Then there is the shaky economy . . .
Overwhelming, isn't it?
As the professor said, as she handed out our final exam tests, "Take a deep breath."
Now is the time - Easter and springtime make it "clean slate time" – to take a booklet of lined paper and write down a list of the state of my life then write down where I want to be five years from now. In between, I have to fill in steps on how to get to that five-year goal.
I give full credit of that plan to the city of Boston. I was on a trip there many years ago and took a timeout to see the famous Boston tea party harbour. It was staggering under pollution, and the city posted a diagram outlining where they were now, their ultimate goal and steps on how they would get to a clean water harbour.
I remember marvelling at the practical wisdom of their plan and was astounded when it burbled to the top of my consciousness this Easter when I was praying.
No use grousing about the state of my life. As Voltaire says, "We must cultivate our own garden. When man was put in the Garden of Eden he was put there so that he should work, which proves that man was not born to rest."
That work stuff is straight ahead. Work. Home. Yard.
It's the other "work" that gets shuffled to the "get-around-to-it someday."
Prayer. Prayer is usually the hardest work I do. Yes, I talk to God, the Holy Mother and saints at the expected times. But my sense after this Easter is that I need – and maybe God wants – more of an ongoing conversation, and for me to listen when he or his angels are trying to get through to me.
Community. Scientists, doctors, psychiatrists all agree people who have a sense of community are those who live the longest, are the healthiest, are the happiest. It takes time to volunteer, fundraise, support others. But look at the benefits that come back – a longer, happier, healthier life.
Nurturing one's self. Cast a look back to that five-year goal. Sure those university night classes can be staggeringly heavy. But the information we study opens doors, gives context to so much of today's life, and takes us another step closer to that degree.
Joy. Now that is a hard one. There are days when I scroll through the news wires and say out loud to God, "Couldn't we have just one good news day?"
But after Easter, I know he has given us Good News. Now it is up to us to witness what Christianity means and it starts, as Voltaire says, it starts in our own backyard.
Share with those in need. The nights are still cold, so the Marian Centre still needs warm jackets, socks. But the changing seasons means the poor also suffer from the sun during the day and need baseball caps that protect their eyes and bottled water to keep hydrated.
Kindness, in today's world, is too often equated with weakness. But what does it cost to slow down and let another driver in? Or listen when a friend or co-worker opens their heart and needs to be heard. Or remember a relative other family members dismiss as lost, or "better off dead."
This Earth is God's gift to us. Going green can be costly, but each one can do their own little bit, be it sweeping the garbage from the front of the house to watering a city tree.
Yes, the water costs. But one mother tells of looking after her son's house and hearing him tell her to water the city tree in front of his home. She protested, telling him it would cost him money.
His response is priceless. "If that tree dies, the city will just come along, cut it down and plant some little sapling. Then I will have no beautiful tree to look at it, no shade and no birds."
His mother watered that tree faithfully.
That booklet I bought is indeed like Easter – a clean slate. Time to fill it with my – and his – Good News.
(Lasha Morningstar email@example.com)