Four centuries ago, a man who died before he was forty wrote these seasoned words:
“Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky;
The dew shall weep thy fall to-night,
For thou must die.
“Sweet rose, whose hue angry and brave
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye;
Thy root is ever in its grave,
And thou must die.
“Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie;
My music shows ye have your closes,
And all must die.
“Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Like season’d timber, never gives;
But though the whole world turn to coal,
Then chiefly lives.”
Virtue, by George Herbert.
(Optional points of interest, in case you lack time to read it aloud, or to rummage around each stanza: Day’s brevity includes infancy, marriage, grief, sin, and death. The rose vigorously protests its root and destiny in death, and line 6’s rhythm is rushed. Spring is a coffin filled with delights, waiting for the lid to close over their death, and line 9 is stuffed with an extra syllable. The virtuous are made of the same substance that becomes coal, but seasoned.)
May we measure each day this week not by its passing sunshine and opportunity, snowstorm and roadblock, assignments, tasks, challenges, or accomplishments, but whether it seasons us toward durable love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and temperance.