pastoral/spiritual care

Enjoying the Seasons of Life, Even the Wintertime

I have been watching the hackberry tree in the front side of our house for the past month.  Each year for the past twelve years, it has been fascinating to see flocks of robins and flocks of cardinals devour the hackberry fruit after it ripens and softens.  The birds will literally eat almost every berry off the tree.  The fruit is very small, round, and becomes soft in the early winter so that the outer part is edible for birds.  Our driveway becomes like a golf ball range where small, yellowish seeds are left over and dropped by the feasting birds.  I guess it’s like eating pecan pie to them!  Then, every winter, the flowering pink cactus blooms reach their peak on Christmas Day on the windowsill of our downstairs bathroom.  It, too, is on a timetable, and it will bloom when Christmas is upon us.  There is fruit and flower to enjoy even in the wintertime.

Usually wintertime is slower, not as colorful and perky as the summertime and springtime. Yet, each winter I enjoy seeing the birds show up and fill the tree and devour the hackberries.  I also enjoy seeing the pink Christmas cactus bloom.  Both are reminders to me that God truly does take care of the birds of the air and the blooms in the field. 

Being a patient in the hospital can become a “wintertime experience” for some.  No doubt, the sterile walls of the hospital room need color and life for those who are recovering and regaining their health.  I recently visited a family before Christmas where the patient’s family had posted pictures of the patient and his family along with holiday type decorations to brighten their days.  I really enjoyed the effort they made to add life and color to the room, and it also helped me to see the patient in a picture where he was his usual, healthy self.  I am hoping he can get back to that state of health very soon. 

Dear God:  I pray for our patients and their families in the wintertime of hospitalizations.  May our staff and faculty be a reminder to each of them of the life and color that truly makes life worth living and enjoying, even in the midst of illness and “wintertime.”  Amen.

-- Chaplain George M. Rossi


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