For the Beauty of the Earth

Spring has sprung in my corner of the world!

We’ve had a brutal winter and so seeing 60ºF (and up!) in the forecast makes me incredibly happy. I love seeing all the flowers. I love seeing happy faces out on the street, smiling for no other reason than warm weather has finally arrived. I find myself joyful, even more so when I’m with friends. Spring is just a happy and optimistic time of the year.

SPRING

As you might have guessed, springtime brings to mind the Christian hymn, For the Beauty of the Earth.

“For the beauty of the earth,

For the beauty of the skies,

For the love which from our birth

Over and around us lies…”

It’s a short and simple hymn that only expresses joy and gratitude for this wonderful earth we live on and for all the love found in it.

For all the fear, hatred, war, and contention that we all see each day on the news and around us, I think it is also important to remember all the good. For every contentious encounter I have, I remember all the warm and healthy relationships I have; for all my patriarchal frustrations within the Church, I remind myself of the beautiful doctrines that brought me to the faith in the first place.

In that vein, spring time is also a time for new beginnings (which I much rather prefer than New Years’ Resolutions!).

This past year has been a rough one for me and feminism and the Church. My testimony, though strong, is at its basic level–– my recommend expires in seven days and I have no plans to renew it, nor do I plan on paying tithing (wedding season is coming up, however, so I may have to revisit this topic….). I get frustrated with the inequality and misplaced priorities that plague the LDS Church, among other things. At the same time, I find myself longingly looking at pictures of my happy Mormon friends who just seem to make things work. I want that fresh belief and happiness I had when I was first baptized five years ago. I want my Mormon experience to be somewhat of a source of happiness, not one of pain as it has been recently.

So, with spring finally here, I want to start a new beginning. Though I still attend Episcopal services for my “sacrament meeting”, I committed myself to attending the other two hours of the Sunday block right after. Additionally, I will go to as many YSA activities as reasonable for me and my schedule. I will read my scriptures more often than I already do. I won’t accept a calling, but I will help out in my branch. I decided that I’m open to giving a talk, if asked.

And those are just my religious beginnings! I’m still developing my secular goals for this spring season, but I figured it was better to start somewhere.

“For the joy of human love,

Brother, sister, parent, child,

Friends on earth, and friends above,

For all gentle thoughts and mild,

Lord of all, to thee we raise

This our hymn of grateful praise.”

In this season of new beginnings, where flowers are in full bloom and the gathering of friends together has become commonplace, I am full of gratitude for all “the joy of human love” I see around me. New season, new beginnings–– I’m going to try to make this work and see the beauty everywhere. And not just seek for the beauty inside the Church, but all around me as well.

What does springtime look like in your area?

What are some of new beginnings you hope to make?

East River Lady

24 years old. LDS Convert. New York Native. Mormon Feminist.

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14 Responses

  1. Jenny says:

    I love this season too. And I love that hymn. I love feeling the warm sun on my skin and feeling a gentle breeze that brings with it a sweet smell of spring. It’s like direct contact with a perfectly loving God who wants us to be happy, no matter what our current religious circumstance is. I think your post beautifully illustrates this through your efforts to maneuver through a complicated faith and to find a “new beginning” for your faith. My new beginnings this spring involve an investment in a marketable skill for myself for the first time since becoming a mother a decade ago. It is going to take some sacrifice from my family for me to spend a hundred hours in training. But I am excited for this new segment of my life.

    • East River Lady says:

      Oh, I love your comment, Jenny. It made me smile.

      Good luck with your skill development! It’ll be so worth it!

  2. Rachel says:

    I love everything about this, East River Lady, the reflection of what is needed in your spiritual life, and what is not, as well as your fierce determination to remember the beautiful things in faith and life, along with the less beautiful ones (that can sometimes be easier to remember).

    Just this week I’ve returned to a project that I started a long time ago, that feels urgent and holy to me, but that I’ve been putting off, because it doesn’t outwardly look like the thing I should be spending time on (aka: it’s not school, it’s not for a deadline, etc.). But it’s what I need to do now. And I am, newly.

    • East River Lady says:

      Thank you, Rachel!

      Cheers to to getting back to your project. If it’s important to you, it’s important, period. Regardless of whether it is for school of not.

  3. Caroline says:

    Lovely post, ERL. I love your reflections. I’ve also recently decided to try to find beauty in and out of the church. I’m determined to go to our UCC church once a month or so because it is such a hopeful and spiritual place for me. At the same time, I’m trying to become even more involved in my RS and participate in more activities. I do admire and appreciate so many of the women in my ward. They have good hearts. I may never grow to love a lot of the church’s stances and teachings on gender, but I want to love my people more.

    • Emily U says:

      “I may never grow to love a lot of the church’s stances and teachings on gender, but I want to love my people more.”

      Exactly.

      • Rachel says:

        Wanting to love (our) people more is such a beautiful and meaningful desire. Thank you for sharing it here, in this cherished space.

      • East River Lady says:

        Caroline, what a beautiful comment.

        Sometimes, it’s the greater good (the people–– our brothers and sisters) that make everything all worth it.

  4. Liz says:

    I like this idea of renewing myself with spring, particularly because it gives me a week or two to figure how/what I want to do with it (spring hasn’t quite sprung in my part of the country yet). I feel so much more hope in spring than I do on New Year’s Day, so it seems more invigorating to do it with the seasons instead of with the calendar.

    • Rachel says:

      Yes! Persians (and maybe others?) celebrate New Years on the first day of Spring. It is so much more fitting.

    • East River Lady says:

      Right? January is so cold and dreary and the only thing I’m motivated to do is grab another cup of hot chocolate and hide under the covers. Spring is so much more hopeful with renewal and warmth. Also, we celebrate the Resurrection in the spring, so I feel it’s especially more fitting to start anew in this season.

  5. April says:

    I love how you are taking advantage of the best of our church and of others as well, to create your own religious experience that is beautiful for you,

    • East River Lady says:

      Thank you, April! It is surprisingly easy for me to do–– it must mean that it is the right thing for me. Taking the good and supplementing it with the good of others has given me so much peace.

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