March 1, 2013

The Winter of Our Discontent

Shakespeare! Again! This quote came to me while I pondered life and love as I drove through the rising dawn and viewed our endless winter. Snow is falling again, and though I still see beauty and feel some excitement as the white flakes fall, our Midwestern winter seems to drag on and on. As winter’s cold and gloomy days stretch on, it’s hard not to feel heavy laden, and to feel the darkness begin to seep into our spirits.

And yet, there is beauty to be found. The canvas of white outside my window is etched with the angular shapes of bare tree branches, which catch and hold the snow like frosting on their limbs.

I love to follow animal tracks in the fresh snow, and try to determine who the critter was and when they passed through.

Oh, and when the sun comes out! When the sun comes out! Especially after a crystal snowfall, when millions of diamonds sparkle at my feet, I am filled with wonder and awe.

Truly winter has its beauty. It just sticks around too darn long.

Likewise, when we are living through a winter of our spirit , we may feel that the heaviness seems to last forever. We are weighed down by our burdens, and instead of singing, we turn inward and want to crawl back under the covers.

But every cycle of life is always changing. Deep under the drifts of snow, down in the frozen earth, I imagine my tulip bulbs beginning to awaken. Soon, the days will warm and hope will renew as life returns to the natural world around us. What joy we will feel in the delight of the first blossoms, and that incredibly bright shade of new spring green that the trees and shrubs will wear. It will happen. It will come, as surely as the sun rises each day.

And thus, so shall the darkness of our spirit come to a time of lightening. We will begin to feel our burdens diminish, and in time, hope will dispel our sadness. Though sadness may pervade our thoughts, and languish in our hearts, joy will one day find its way into the dark places and the light will come again.

Like the sun warms and nurtures the earth, we need to nurture our spirit with all that is good. Be kind to yourself. Take the time to treat yourself to whatever it is that makes you feel happy. Honor your sadness, but don’t let it linger too long. The spirit longs for peace, and though our discontent may last for a season, even seemingly endless winters will end.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.”
Psalm 42:5-6 & 11

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