It’s the time of year that many of us examine our balance sheets and seeks to claim losses to offset our gains that we’ve seen in the last year. It’s interesting to me that this may be the only time we actually seek out our losses and benefit from them in a tangible manner. The rest of the year we lament our losses and grieve over them.
Granted that our monetary losses pale in comparison to those of our emotional or physical ones, but nonetheless, they force us to grow.
Recently a flower that had been blooming in our kitchen window had to be pruned back to allow the bulb to re-generate. This was happening at the same time as a significant loss for my wife and me.
We had been blessed with fostering three of the most wonderful young ladies through a state-run organization. At first the tender buds of adaptation had confused and bewildered us. It was actually overwhelming for several weeks while we learned how to co-exist and respect our own needs while balancing that of traumatized children.
But just like the flower, we pushed through the hard surface of life and found our stride. Beauty began to surround us and the fragrance of young life permeated the air in our home. There was laughter, light and lots of love. We basked in the sunlight of happiness thinking that it might go on forever.
Sometimes life takes away what we most love. Like nature, life is neither fair nor unfair. It just is. A wild asparagus responds to sunlight and rain and with the company of other like flora, grows into a mature stalk until one day; another entity harvests it for a greater purpose.
In the natural world nothing goes to waste. Just as with the human perspective, no loss is without gain.
One year ago one of my dearest friends lost his son. This past year has been one of the most difficult in his family’s life. It is with the loss of our girls, who were moved to another family, that we realize that we have chosen to embrace the lesson of compassion and empathy for our friends, rather than be bitter and jaded about how horrible life can be.
As the winter snow melts away the last ice crystals in hidden crevices of the mountainsides, life-affirming water flows down to the valley to replenish a lake that suffered a severe drought last year. It appeared as though life would never return to normal. As climate scientists continue to debate about our earth, even though the vast majority of them have agreed that we are impacting our environment, the end is not near.
We all have time to repair our viewpoints and forgive nature for taking what we love from us. We will, like the budding asparagus in the lowly ditch of a lonely dirt road, push through the winter-packed earth and begin our search for the sun’s warm beams.
If you want to find me this spring, look in the ditches of Chittenden County, seeking new life in the form of wild asparagus, and with each new shoot, I will be sending blessings to those who have given us support through this past winter.
Bradley Carleton is Executive Director of Sacred Hunter, a non-profit that seeks to educate the public on the spiritual connection of man to nature and raises funds for Traditions Outdoor Mentoring, which mentors at-risk young men in outdoor pursuits.