This winter season seems to mimic how it feels to grieve. The nights can feel so dark and lonely – and so very long. The days seem to be filled with tears which flow unexpectedly. We can feel like the heavy clouds of rain just waiting to burst open. There are glimpses of sunshine, though they do not appear nearly enough. There are days of relief where all begins to find a rhythm of its own. And then those days are interrupted by snow or lightning or other strange occurrences. It is a crazy time filled with challenges sprinkled with speckles of hope.
If you find yourself struggling a little more this winter, know that you are not alone. Winter can be difficult all by itself. The short days can make most anyone beg for a little sunshine. Then, there is grief you are dealing with, to add to the challenges. For some, night time is the most difficult. It is when you notice the absence of the one you love. It is when you are in the bed alone or sitting in the living room alone. It becomes an endless cycle of challenges just to keep going. And this year, we deal with even more. As we fight this pandemic, we sense we are more alone than ever. The normal tasks we would do to break up the monotony are changed. We do not linger in a store or just stop by for a visit with a friend. We do not sit down at a restaurant for coffee as we once did. We have to be cautious. Cautious can also mean lonely.
These are all valid feelings. These are challenges many are facing right now. While there are no quick and easy answers, there is hope. There is something beautiful in the making. This is not the end. Winter has a purpose.
Know that winter will not last forever. It may seem like forever, but it isn’t. Spring is just around the corner. Take heart, the sun is coming up a little earlier and going down a little later. It is a excruciatingly slow process, but a meaningful one. Winter is a time for the earth to be dormant. It is a time of retreat. It is a time when the earth rests and is fed, preparing for a time of blooming and production. Trees which looks so bare are actually being prepared to blossom. Seedlings low in the ground are being nurtured so they can spring up and produce bountiful flowers and crops. A cycle of goodness is in the works, even when we do not recognize it.
You may feel pretty dormant yourself right now. This may be the time when you rest. This may be the time when you are being renewed. It is often painful. It can feel like you are being stripped bare of all your security. It can feel as though you are all alone. But Spring is coming. There are still joys ahead to be experienced. While the blossoms may look different, they are still beautiful. You are being loved and held by an Almighty God who has promised to not leave you, especially in your grief and fears. Hold on, there is better still to come.
Winter is not the end, but a time to begin again. Know you are not alone. You do not face these fears alone. You do not struggle alone. While all of our fears, struggles and grief journeys look different, we all travel. Sometimes the path gives us hope and peace. Sometimes the path is filled with storms and hills. And sometimes, we simply get to hide in the shelter of the Almighty until we are ready to travel again. Travel well, my friends. Spring is coming.