" It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.¨
The winter of grief pierces my heart. The bitter cold has made bones of the trees outside. They stand naked, vulnerable, frozen in their dormant posture. They seem much like me in their waiting, in their defenseless exposure, in their inability to move. They have been reduced to attitudes of essential survival.
My heart goes down early with the sun (how soon the darkness comes in winter!) and withdraws in loneliness. It instinctively searches for warmth & quiet in its hibernated state. It is a serious season, a seemingly unending one and its barrenness stretches out before me.
Yet in spite of the cold, there is a certain beauty - pristine snow and its painting of the winter wonderlandscape, glowing indoor fires, hoodies & hot chocolate, flannels & fleece, cinnamon candles & music floating like the flakes themselves - all a juxtaposed part of this season. There is the hope of the evergreen, the uniqueness of each snowflake, the fun of snow sports, the warmth of family, the sweet dreams of sugarplums and even the early crocuses with their promises of spring.
But my grief is desolate & raw right now in winter. I cocoon up against the flurries of sadness, the wind chill of depression and the bleakness of the wasteland of energy & passion. I observe the beauty of this season from afar, like a tourist, yet I am restless & yearning for another.
Where I live now there is no snow in winter, just the cold. Last week the almond trees blossomed. They are always the first and most eager for spring. But they brought false hopes; two days ago another northern chill swept over the country in defiant response. My heart ran again for cover.
I reflect, somewhat bemused, on the fact that the southern hemisphere of the world is in summer - maybe I am just in the wrong place! And those countries along the equator who have no winter at all... do they not have a ¨winter¨ in their grief there? I seriously consider moving...but I´m pretty sure the winter of my grief would stubbornly refuse to leave me until it´s time is done. It clings to me with chilling yet intentional purpose.
My soul yearns for warmth, sunshine, the soft-hued colors & fresh air of life-giving spring. I long for its promises, its breath and spirit. I long to come outside, out of my hiding, out of my cocooning, out of the sadness of loss. I know I have a long journey in front of me but I just want to turn this corner into tender, verdant spring. To move, grow and progress.
Oh may I be persevering during this winter of grief! It will not last forever and there is purpose in it just like all the seasons. Help me to understand that in this apparent dormancy, there is growth and life; it is just not as evident. Things are hibernating, resting, preparing for the surge of growth & life that is to come. Let me walk this one out faithfully, one day at a time. There will soon be a thawing, a warming, the songbirds will return and the flowering will begin...
¨Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.¨
Photo by: blmiers2