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By Anne Simpkinson

Spring’s Personal Growth Lesson

Spring has finally burst on the scene here in New York. The daffodils on the Central Park hills lift their yellow faces to the sun, the crocuses and tiny bluebells dot the greening grass, and the forsythia have thrown themselves wide open! Even tulips are popping out here and there. All around, the grass, trees, bushes and flowers are sending out fragile shoots, buds and blossoms.

Yet despite spring’s arrival, there remain telltale signs of the unrelenting harshness of a winter that battered not only the land here but our psyches and spirits as well.

How many of us have not been pummelled by life’s hard times? I once experienced a seven-year stretch (yes, seven years!) during which I dealt with financial problems and two serious family illnesses. I changed my job, the city where I lived and my marital status. Talk about stress! Each day I prayed Psalm 13:

How long will this pain go on, Lord,
this grief I can hardly bear?

How long will anguish grip me
and agony wring my mind?

(From A Book of Psalms: Selected & Adapted from the Hebrew, by Stephen Mitchell)

But this weekend as I walked through Central Park, I was happy. Simply happy. The emergence of new life lifted my spirits and I thought that despite how beaten down we may feel, how many difficulties and challenges we encounter, there is always change, renewal, spiritual growth, personal growth.

This season’s personal growth lesson for us can be summed up simply: Spring is hope fulfilled.

Anne Simpkinson is the online managing editor of guideposts.org. She co-authored Soul Work: A Field Guide for Spiritual Seekers and has edited two anthologies entitled Sacred Stories: A Celebration of the Power of Stories to Transform and Heal and Nourishing the Soul: Discovering the Sacred in Everyday Life. A spiritual practice, good friends, lakeside cottage and two lovely feline companions continue to transform and enrich her life.