Spring has indeed sprung in my area with an invasion of green grass, blossoming trees, and blooming flowers. The fast pace of the changes has me in awe of nature’s power and splendor. Every day, something new is popping out of the ground, changing color, or growing from a tiny speck into a leafy plume. Seeing these changes offers energy and inspiration to the mind, body, and soul, and reminds me that life is indeed full of changes and blessings in disguise.
Energy Breeds Energy
Since childhood, spring has equated to more time spent outdoors and more attention to the finer details of life for me. As a youngster, I reveled in watching the plants and trees grow taller with the spring sun and rain. All the colors bursting forth gave me hope for my dreams and goals. Though I am older now, I still feel childlike when spring arrives, often getting so caught up in the possibilities the season offers that I lose track of time while exploring on my runs, bike rides, and walks in the yard with my dogs.
My experiences led me to find that the more active I was, the more energy I had. Admittedly, I took this to an extreme in my teenage years, partly due to a sense of loneliness and partly to escape what I call teen angst. Through the years, I have learned to balance my activity levels a bit better, though I still prefer to be in motion rather than resting.
So why does being more active make one feel more energetic? The answer has several parts and theories, including:
- Exercise increases levels of endorphins, natural hormones that regulate energy and mood, resulting in sharper physical and mental focus
- Physical activity boosts cardiovascular health, providing endurance
- Regular exercise promotes better sleep, which attributes to increased energy
Basically, when we are more active, we are more alert to our surroundings and our accomplishments. As we do more, we feel a sense of success or achievement that encourages us to continue. It is a cycle of giving and receiving that keeps going as long as we keep trying. The weather and new life of spring offer great potential to keep the cycle going strong.
Lost and Found
Though spring has always been an enjoyable time for me, it does carry with it some historic losses in my life. My first dog, Old Ralph, passed away in April of 1979, leaving me a bit lost in dealing with my first experience with death. Princess, my beloved German shepherd of over 14 years, passed away March 10, 2005, which is a bit before the actual start of spring, but still close enough to put a spin on my emotions. Bo, another German shepherd, passed away March 25, 2013 at the young age of two years.
Bo would have been six years old this past Monday, and I found myself a bit emotional over his loss.
Contemplating these losses reminded me of how the disciples were a bit lost after Jesus died and rose from the dead. In order for the disciples to fully recognize Jesus’ glory, they had to lose him in a physical sense. However, the physical loss was transformed into finding a deeper spiritual relationship with Jesus. This spiritual relationship in turn allowed the disciples to carry on Jesus’ teachings, share their healing powers, and provide light, hope, and energy to others.
In a sense, the season of Easter offers opportunities to continuing sharing the light of Jesus’ life and all that can be found in that light. By remembering Jesus’ death and resurrection, we realize that in order to be found, we must first be lost or have a sense of loss. Perhaps St. Francis of Assisi said it best in his peace prayer:
“…For it is in giving that we receive…and in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
Living in the Light of Loss
My dog Leo reminded me of how time and our companions and friends in life help us move on despite our losses. Leo has only been with me for six months. However, every day I look at him, I see an amazing life and amount of potential in his shepherd lab frame. Leo is a bit special in that he has a birth defect that makes his front paw appear turned inward. At times, he holds his paw up and often runs on three legs. He does not let this anomaly deter him, and I am so glad I did not let it deter me from adopting him.
In reflecting upon how Leo came to me, I realized that most of the dogs in my life have come to me just before or right after a time of loss. Leo came to live with my German shepherd, Sadie, and me after our beloved black lab, Luke, passed away. Sadie came into my life just before my German shepherd, Nikki, passed away. Luke came into my life after Princess died. All of these canine friends provided light in my life, leading me away from my feelings of loss. It was on the journey back from being lost that I found not only myself, but also the healing powers of my canine companions and time itself.
Living and Loving Life
Since Leo is still rather young and new to our household, he is discovering the beauty and magic of spring along with us. His curiosity and wonder are like that of a child—pure, innocent, and full of an awkward grace one cannot help but love. He is a bouncy little fellow with a boyish grin, full of energy and life. As I watch him mature, learn, and grow each day, I see endless potential, not only for him, but for Sadie and me as well.
Just as Jesus gave the disciples renewed hope in his resurrection, Leo has brought a renewed sense of light and life to our household. Perhaps this more meaningful to me because of the circumstances surrounding Leo’s arrival. Leo had been shipped to several shelters and was hours away from being euthanized before a veterinarian realized his potential and contacted a rescue group in my area. Leo was saved because someone cared enough to realize his potential despite his deformed paw. I opted to adopt him because I wanted to give him a chance at living life.
We were saved by Jesus through his death despite our sins and faults. God chose His only Son to save us because He loves us and wants us to live in His light. I firmly believe Leo was sent to Sadie and me to help us heal from our losses, to see the light despite the darkness in the world around us, and to allow us to experience love in life.
May the life and energy around us give us hope and inspiration to sustain us on our journey. May the light of spring allow us to be found after being lost, and may we see God’s love in our relationships with others.
Light of Spring
In the sunrise at dawn,
In the light shed upon
The paths we travel through time,
In the buds and blooms,
In the love of God strewn
Across the universe and back,
In all we do and do not have,
In the light of spring
May we find many blessings.
In the dew on the grass,
In the view we have,
In the blossom and the vine,
In hosta and the bleeding heart that climb
Higher and higher each day,
In the weeping peach and buckeye branches that sway,
In the light of spring,
May life reveal the song nature sings.
In the Eastern redbud and flowering trees,
In the lilac buds and leaves,
In the yellow daffodils
And the purple flowering myrtle,
In the colors and the hues
That provide stellar views,
In the light of spring
May we find our true blessings.
-Lisa A. Wisniewski
Resources and Related Links
Easter season – http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/easter/
Exercise and energy levels – https://www.drnewtons.com/blog/how-daily-exercise-increases-energy-levels/