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The short-lived Cherry Blossoms

"Why does one of the most captivating sights have to be gone so soon?" I wondered as I sat under the Cherry Blossom tree while the sun was setting on a retreat. The retreatants were crying in all corners of the grass and you could feel freedom and love in the atmosphere. The soft air, the flow of the petals falling, it was all just so pure in it's white and pink beauty. So much goodness.

"I hope the walk to be greeted by you in Heaven will involve walking down a path of nothing but bright Cherry Blossom trees." I told Our Father.

My eyes caught these beauties everywhere around Easter Sunday and to my amazement, peak bloom is usually around April 4th (look at that impeccable timing). The more I drove around, the more I saw -- more than usual -- and though they are white and simple, their presence was loud. Distraction worthy. Of course I come to find out these seasonal beauties, like Jesus' Easter Resurrection, symbolize 'renewal.' I am so used to seeing butterflies and new flowers at the start of Spring, and thinking, "there it is, rebirth and resurrection!" but these blossoms were the personal 'sign' I saw to know that Easter did --in my heart-- what it was supposed to do.

I have realized some of the most precious moments in my days are as short-lived as these tree's. The moments just vanish but the desire lingers. The conversations with dear people, the meals and snacks I finish, wanting more. The workouts that get my adrenaline pumping for a good hour before the conscience starts speaking, "sis, chill! go eat, tomorrows another day!" Even the confidence I see in myself is short-lived, as is the anger or sadness. My attention span is almost TOO short-lived. Sometimes the song I listen to over and over ends faster than I realize because I mentally forgot to soak it up. It's the person you just wish you could chat with for 5 more minutes. The friend you just want to snuggle.

Literally, just wishing I could grab everything, hold it all tight and never let any of it go with the hope that there is, in fact, a way to satisfy the desire.

Truthfully, I can be afraid of a good moment... a great experience, for the mere fact that like the cherry blossoms, "this too, will end."

Even Jesus, on the road to Emmaus, startled two guys walking the path. And when Jesus jumped in and walked with them. As they neared the end of the road they couldn't say goodbye, "don't leave! come eat dinner with us!" They weren't ready for His presence to leave. And after dinner, "He vanished from their sight." and they realized after it was over "surely He was the Christ for their hearts were burning within them while He was around."

For some mysterious reason, even Goodness Himself had to vanish.

If I actually could do anything to have "more" of these things I love, I would. I truly know, deep down, the more I release the grip to hold them tight the more free I feel by releasing it. #Mysterious. And like my desires, moments, and meaningful experiences, the beautiful and enchanting blooms of these Cherry Blossoms are short-lived. They are not a "sign" showing me the direction I must go in, but a sign that there has been a renewal in my heart.

The renewal that reminds me the goal of life is not primarily to GET anything but to deepen my very self. To embrace even the smallest of moments that widen our hearts to love, towards God.

"We have to accept that sometimes God prefers to turn off the lights and leave us like a lost person, unable to see, stumbling in the direction of an unseen voice faintly heard in the distance. Indeed, we learn in time that what God seems to desire most are encounters with Himself that will be poor and unsupported by any ability on our part. .. He does not intend to reward us with some spiritual trophy to put on our mantles "because we pray." When God shows Himself He takes great care to always preserve His hiddenness. It would seem as if He prefers not to shed more than thin layers of disguise -- and there His mystery remains intact and only partially disclosed. This result is contrary to every expectation of a comforting experience with God in prayer. He is more likely to make us ache with continual desire for intimacy with Him than to satisfy some longing for Him. Prayer is usually dim shadows and indefinite encounters -- in this, we realize much later, after the prayers, that the gift of His immediate presence was present. We should learn prayer more blindly, more dependently on love. The silence of God is often his best communication, not a sign of His absence." - Father Donald Haggerty

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