June 27, 2011

Addendum to #2: Seasons of Forgiveness

This series of photos I found was inspired by a search idea I had about the seasons of forgiveness. There are things in our lives that happen to us that go so deep that we can forgive at one level, only to find ourselves once again cycling through the seasons of forgiveness. I wanted to take a few minutes to expound on my thoughts for each of these pictures. The captions are the search terms I used to find the photos in Google Images.


The Winter of our Discontent
Winter is a season where everything appears to be dead, but within barren tree trunks and underneath the frozen ground life is as active as ever. This is a great metaphor for this season of forgiveness. Just when we least expect it something triggers us, and it feels as if we are right back where we started.

We realize that yet again that person or event has gotten under our skin, and we are bereft to find a way to break free from their spell. We may cry out in despair at the roots of bitterness still left behind after the last round of forgiveness.

We may ache as we walk through the incident once again, looking for the key to releasing our loved one (or enemy as the case may be) once again. It is in the winter months of forgiveness that we realize forgiveness has very little to do with the one we are forgiving.


Spring Has Come
Spring comes on the heels of winter. All that life that has bubbled below the surface during the bleak and dreary hibernation comes into contact with the increasing warmth of the sun, and just when you think winter will last forever that life suddenly bursts forth in vernal hues of pink, lavender, sky blue, spring green, and soft yellow.

When the grueling labor of forgiveness is finally over and the cries of your heart for freedom have built to a steady crescendo, there is a moment, a tipping point when your heart releases those tendrils of bitterness, and Love comes pouring in over you once again.

The sleepless nights come to an end, and with more rest you begin to see the color in your life once again. Your heart begins to feel tiny pricks of joy at the little things, and you know that spring has come. It is a time to celebrate and to await the growth of fruit from your labor.


Trees Laden with Fruit
Typically we associate summer with vacation and time off, which do happen for most of us during the summer. However, my inspiration for choosing summer to represent the harvest came from the sweetest fruit of the year, which begins to set in the springtime and is actually ready for harvest throughout most of the summer.

It is in the summer of forgiveness that we begin to taste the fruit of our labors. We realize the renewed sense of vulnerability and trust we've gained with those who have stood by us on our journey.

We realize that we can look at the ones who have hurt us with compassion, and we may even begin to reach out for ways to bridge the great divide that has separated us. The warmth of Love continues to deepen our hunger for peace and full reconciliation.


Autumn--All Things Must Die
As the streams begin to dry up and the water table begins to lower, the trees begin to batten down the hatches for the impending cold. The fruit is long gone, and as the daylight and water supply decreases, the trees stop making food. As the chlorophyll begins to seep out of the leaves, they turn the brilliant orange, red, and yellow hues indicative of autumn.

It is the season of surrender, when the old must pass away and make room for the new that will grow under the surface once again during the winter sleep. What is left of the food supply must be reserved and rationed to allow the trees to endure the winter months with no means to generate new food.

In terms of forgiveness, autumn represents the seasons when our cries for reconciliation go unanswered. We find it hard to extend trust again to the ones we have forgiven, and the ones who have forgiven us are still having a hard time trusting us.

It is in the autumn of forgiveness that we must allow all of our agendas, our expectations, and dreams for these relationships and what they will become to fall away. We will be surprised still at the brilliant shades these hopes will take on as we release them into the care of Love. As we surrender yet again to the possibility of another winter and the labor of love associated with forgiving our brothers and sisters seventy times seven times. 

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