Spring break…spring into action…spring cleaning…spring is in the air…

Every saying about spring brings with it the idea of a fresh start, new beginnings or growth. As I look around this time of year, I can’t help but see and feel the beauty of renewal.

Grass is turning green; trees are beginning to blossom and gain new leaves. Bulbs that have lain dormant all winter are emerging from the ground in small bursts of color. Flowers are already beginning to bloom.

This season seems to inspire those who take the time to relish it. Spring beckons us outdoors to work or play. We want to take a walk or grill in the backyard. Perhaps we are enticed to take a trip to the lake or river.

Many people use this time of year to clean their house, garage or barn. This “spring cleaning” ritual typically involves a more thorough cleansing than usual. We scrub places frequently left untouched, sweeping away cobwebs and dust previously hidden from view.

I believe our inspiration comes from the desire to do internally the same things we do externally. As human beings, we need that cleansing of our hearts and minds in the same way our homes and garages do. We occasionally need to sweep out the cobwebs and dusty places in our minds to rid us of the negativity that clutters our thoughts and influences our actions. This is the time to let go of hurts, grudges and perceived wrongs; apologize to someone for your wrongdoings. Replace the mustiness of bad attitudes with the refreshing scent of forgiveness and joy.

I hear you saying, “Why? No one knows my thoughts. Besides, so-and-so truly offended me and hasn’t apologized.”

Well, they may not realize you are hurt or may have forgotten about it. What if they know and still haven’t apologized? Offer forgiveness. Ridiculous? Not at all!

Whenever you hold onto grudges and bad feelings, they only hurt you! The result is baggage that weighs you down and makes you miserable. Just like dust that accumulates in the corners of our house, bad feelings “pile up” in our heart. It becomes our own personal fire hazard. One day, we might explode and hurt an innocent bystander.

So let it go; sweep it out. Feel better and others around you just may notice the positive change. We may not always be able to control our circumstances, but we can control our reaction to them. Maybe nothing so sinister lurks in the corners of your mind. If not, continue to maintain your focus and be thankful for the blessings of peace and joy.

I urge each of us to renew our hearts and minds in some small way this season. Every time you see the beauty around you, take the opportunity to look at the beauty within. For the pessimists out there, don’t spoil the season by hunting for the negatives. Try living a while as an optimist! It’s much more fun…and it’s a beautiful place to be!

Sherri Michael is a fifth and sixth grade math and science teacher at Three Way School and a member of the E-T's community columnists. Her columns on a variety of topics will focus on attitudes. She can be reached at sherrifmtx@aol.com.