As I sit to write this post, spring winds are causing the chimes outside my window to spring(!) to life. It’s always this way in the desert southwest. As a child, I didn’t love this season (despite having a spring birthday) because it seemed I always had windblown dust in my hair, eyes, and teeth. It was only when I moved to Boston and saw carpets of daffodils erupt into bloom along the Charles River around my birthday that my perspective changed.

But I’m back in the desert now, and I’ve learned to find peace with the spring winds (except when they get strong enough to whip tree branches against the side of the house, reminding me where we’re overdue for a pruning). The sound of the chimes is sweet, and I also know that the winds strengthen the growing plants in my garden, enabling them to withstand the future weight of bigger branches and swelling fruits.

American culture tends to focus on the easy life. We want instantaneous gratification—and with online ordering and next-day delivery, we pretty much get what we want. Unless we’re adrenaline junkies, we don’t value the challenging aspects of life. Yet it is those times of challenge which really grow us. When the winds of life knock us off-course, then we truly have to engage our spiritual and physical muscles in reclaiming the rudder (yes, this is no longer a desert image!) to set a new course or refocus on the direction we know we need to follow.

The winds of the COVID-19 pandemic knocked the world off-course. The winds of hatred, fear, and xenophobia have knocked America off-course. But as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. That’s true of growing plants and of human societies. It’s time to be persistent in reclaiming the rudder and working toward being one nation. We won’t do that by trying to overturn elections through shady recounting. We won’t do that by demonizing the “other side.” Instead, we need to recognize that we all live here, contribute to the common good (in many and varied ways), and deserve places at the tables of power.

This week’s Garden of the Heart theme is persistence in the face of challenging winds. In what ways are you working to stand strong? How are you being persistent in working toward being able to bear fruit for the common good?

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