This year I missed out on experiencing the seasons as I always had. We moved to Florida from Wisconsin last summer, and I didn't anticipate how a year without dramatic changes in temperature would make me feel.
There were many things to appreciate. Not having to scrounge for socks, hats, mittens, or coats. Getting to keep out my summer clothes year-round. Not having to shovel snow or drive on icy roads. Going strawberry picking in January. Taking walks outside without having to bundle up.
But there were times when the good weather bothered me. And I couldn't make sense of it until I realized, quite suddenly, that it was already May. In Wisconsin, May is a beautiful month. Flowers are starting to sprout from their bulbs. The trees are budding. Neighbors come out to greet each other after a long winter spent indoors. Everything is coming to life again. And we celebrate Our Lady who brought Light into the world.
In Florida, May is also a beautiful month. Every day is beautiful. So I guess that's what hit me. Every. Day. Is. Beautiful. There is no winter hardship here that binds people together in suffering and compassion. No frozen darkness out of which the great warmth of spring emerges. No sense of joyful anticipation. Only an expectation that each day will be as beautiful as the last.
I have often heard the question, "Why would an all-powerful and loving God permit us to suffer so terribly in this life?" People don't deny that suffering is a part of life. Suffering is inevitable and universally recognized. But the question remains.
So many people have friends, money, and power. Yet true happiness eludes them. Each day is a fulfillment of their physical desires, yet the soul cannot be quenched. They have an expectation all needs will be met, and they find themselves dulled to appreciate even the temporal pleasures that they once pursued so vigorously. They become difficult to please and even harder to live with.
Attempting to live a life free of suffering is like wishing to read a book without the conflict. Yawn. We all love an inspiring tale of heroic bravery or overcoming great obstacles, yet we tend to flee at first indication of personal sacrifice. Our lives are a great story being written with all the peaks and valleys that come with it. Aren't the peaks more triumphant when the valleys have been deeper? Absolutely. And so it shall be in our heavenly home.
An answer that has come to me in the experience of an endless summer.