The weather forecasters say spring is finally here. In particular I welcome the return of the birds, and anticipate that at some point they’ll be joined by the crickets. Depending on our circumstances, however, a season like spring, or a festive holiday, can seem like an affront. T.S. Eliot wrote that “April is the cruelest month”. If we have experienced a loss, if a significant relationship is in tatters, if we have health or financial worries, the idea that others are happily celebrating the season can deepen our pain and cause us to feel even more isolated and alone. An unfortunate side effect of suffering is that it is almost always accompanied by loneliness. Grief or significant stress can make us look around and perceive everyone else we see as happy and content. The media and advertising add to this perception, as not only is everyone happy about spring, but they’re even happier when they are using whatever product is being peddled. However, authentic spring-like moods run the gamut of human emotions, and are the same emotions that are experienced during the winter. We are wise to embrace our true feelings during any season, even if they run counter to what seems to be expected of us. Vulnerability is part of the human condition, and should not be thought of as weakness.