This spring, remember what it’s like to feel joy
A Reflection for the Memorial of St. Justin, martyr
Find today’s readings here.
How beautiful are all his works!
even to the spark and fleeting vision!
The universe lives and abides forever;
to meet each need, each creature is preserved.
All of them differ, one from another,
yet none of them has he made in vain,
For each in turn, as it comes, is good;
can one ever see enough of their splendor? (Sir 42:22-25)
It’s that time of the year again: Twitter is remembering what it’s like to feel joy.
It is as true a harbinger of the spring as blooming flowers or late sunsets. Each year, my social media timeline fills up with pithy observations about everyone’s first few days of spring weather. People realize that they aren’t miserable in their jobs after all (or, at least, they can stop fixating on that for the next few months). Friendships heal. Laughter resumes. A contented appreciation for life on Earth settles over us again.
For me, this transition also requires a dramatic shift in my music taste. Everything gets a little brighter and more hopeful. I can’t stomach the sad, gloomy songs that sustained me earlier in the year. The appreciation for life permeates my entire outlook on life, and I return to music that reflects it.
One such song is “Oh, What A World”by Kasey Musgraves. I’ve been listening to it a lot recently. It’s a song about wonder, where the artist marvels about all the things that seem “too good to be true” in our everyday lives, from plants and animals to love shared between people. A couple of my friends are also fans of this particular album (“Golden Hour,” 2018’s Album of the Year), and we agreed that “Oh, What A World” evokes this same sense of wonder in us.
We didn’t do anything to earn this world. Most days we do not deserve it. But its beauty is there for us anyway. Like so much in life, it is a gift.
Natural beauty is the great uniter. Politicians clash, artists compete, churches accuse each other of falsehoods and blasphemy, but all turn their heads in admiration to nature and the majesty of the world we inhabit. We didn’t do anything to earn this world. Most days we do not deserve it. But its beauty is there for us anyway. Like so much in life, it is a gift.
I’ve got a whole bunch of nerve-wracking stuff hanging over me right now, as I wrap up my fellowship at America and plan out a life somewhere completely new. But (ironically) I’m trying to take a lesson in perspective from Twitter. I’m trying to let the free, simple, unmatchable beauty of this time of year remind me of something: The universe is so much more than my problems. And with time, I will start to see them all in a much warmer light.