A man had four sons. He wanted them to learn not to judge things -- or people -- too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, one at a time, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away. Each son was to view the same tree.
The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in the summer, and the youngest son in the fall. When they had all completed their individual journeys to the pear tree, the father called his sons together to hear a description of what each one had seen.
The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. The second son quickly disagreed, "No! It was covered with green buds and full of promise." The third son corrected the second as he described a tree that was laden with blossoms, sweet-smelling, and beautiful. "It was the most graceful thing I have ever seen," he said. The last son disagreed with all of them. He described the tree as ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.
The father explained to his sons that they were all correct because they had each seen but ONLY one season in the tree's life. He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season. "The essence of who you are -- and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from your life -- can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are fulfilled."
If you give up when it's winter, you'll miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, and the fulfillment of your fall. Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest. Don't judge your life by one difficult season. Persevere through the difficult patches. Better times are sure to come in time.*
What season of life are you in? There are more than four seasons of the soul. How would you describe this season of your life? Productive, blossoming, barren, dry... There are so many options. I can assure you, there is no way to avoid occasional harsh winters. But there is a way to enhance, lengthen, and strengthen the feeling of spring in the roots of your soul.
"His delight is in the law of the Lord (the Bible), and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper" (Psalm 1:2-3).
Allow your soul to drink from the Fountain of Life that is the Word of God and feast on the Bread of Life who is the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
I've never stayed at the Four Seasons, but I've lived a few of them,
*Adapted from "Seasons of Life." Author unknown.