Spring’s arrival and promise of new life

It must have been around this time of year, some 400 years ago, that a fellow we know today as “Brother Lawrence” discovered the key to happiness.

In the spiritual classic, “The Practice of the Presence of God,” his biographer describes it like this: “In the winter, seeing a tree stripped of its leaves, and considering that within a little time, the leaves would be renewed, and after that the flowers and fruit appear, he received a high view of the Providence and Power of God, which has never since been effaced from his soul.

“This view had perfectly set him loose from the world, and kindled in him such a love for God, that he could not tell whether it had increased in above 40 years that he had lived since.”

How’s that for a transformational moment?

The key he discovered in that experience was “that we should establish ourselves in a sense of God’s Presence, by continually conversing with Him” and “That we should feed and nourish our souls with high notions of God; which would yield us great joy in being devoted to him.”

I, as much as anybody, need to be reminded to always be open to God and to do everything I do for the love of Him.

So now, as we pass the equinox of spring, I see the promise of new life in the bare trees outside my house. The gray exile of winter has nearly passed. Soon, the tender green shoots will burst forth. The incredibly complex music of the molecules within the xylem and phloem will awaken the sleeping giants — the oaks, the sweetgums and the tulip poplars — and the cycle of life will begin again.

Those whose souls are hurting, also, I hope, will be revived with the lengthening of days and the approach of Easter.

These are deep needs that we all share, no matter what our background, our religion. Seek the light, and keep following it. The mighty God who made all things is alive within us. Only He can fill the hollow place in our hearts, and only if we let Him.

Here ends my late winter introspection. I wish the best to all of you, and thank you for reading. Happy spring!

Ron Barnett can be reached at