This Is Not the End

This is not
the end.
News that may come
as a salve
in the dry cold of winter,
or like an unwelcome tug
on the hammock
of August.
However finished
you’re afraid you are
or wish
you could be,

this earth that rests
so still beneath you
is racing around the sun,
teaching your body
to dance the seasons.
You are carried
with a million years
of faith: that there is more in you
longing to break open,
to pour out,
to mingle
with the soil of life.

Earlier this year Elizabeth and I, with her parents’ help, cut several truckloads of shrubbery out of our yard.

The shrubs were already years overgrown when we moved in near the beginning of the pandemic. And had only gotten wilder since.

One of them was a Rose of Sharon whose branches pushed out over our front walkway.

It was early spring. 

The Rose of Sharon was still leafless from winter. Which made it relatively easy to cut and saw and trim until it was about half of its former self.

Bare, leafless, with fresh cuts on nearly every branch…

It looked done for.

And for a while I thought it was. Even when all the trees in the neighborhood were filling out with new leaves, the Rose of Sharon stayed dead-looking.

But then a few little peeks of green appeared. Tiny leaves started opening up and gathering fresh sunlight.

I was kind of amazed.

I’d been told it would come back even healthier than before. But to take a plant that looked winter-dead to start with, hack off half its body, then watch it burst with new leaves and shoots…

It showed me something about what life does.

The same kind of life that’s in you. 

That’s what my new guide to “The Four Seasons of Belonging” is about. That just like the Rose of Sharon outside my front window, you are a self-renewing creature of a seasonal earth.

And with each cycle of renewal you’re invited to bring more wholeness into your life, and into relationship with the world.

The guide gives you poems and practices to engage this process consciously. So you can find the gift in whatever season you’re in and be hopeful for what’s to come.

I hope it gives you some peace and curiosity for the season you find yourself in.