This Midwestern “spring” (and I use that term quite loosely) has been a frustration for all of us.
Warm days of hopefulness appear, and we neighbors emerge from our homes like sunbathing reptiles. I had a full conversation with someone standing in the dead end off of our street and it was glorious. Kids play outside, windows fly open, and fresh air fills the house. We start to make plans… I’m going to landscape here, put up new screens in this window, maybe paint this door…
And then it snows. Again. Negative-degree sub-arctic temperatures and muddy salty slush that sticks to everything come back with a vengeance. The sky goes grey, there’s no sun in sight for days, and we once again return to begrudgingly waving at each other while we retrieve toppled over trash cans in blustering misery.
If you’re like me, you start the season strong. The crisp air in November stings my nose and I excitedly exclaim, “It smells like snow!” We pull out fluffy coats (or maybe even buy new ones!), snuggle into warm blankets, put a fire in the fireplace, and cozy in. The house is decorated in holiday anticipation and we dream of a white Christmas and that first snowman of the season. The songs of the season change. We give each other gifts and revel in an extra sense of gratitude.
Then February comes. The in-home evergreens are gone, the bills are showing up, the coats are no longer cute but cumbersome, and our vitamin D well is drying up.
But, we think, surely spring isn’t that far away. We can make it. Soldier on brave midwesterner. We switch from coffee to tea and add supplements if we’re feeling dismal. We work those New Years resolutions and accept 30 degree days with gratitude and hope.
Finally, winter breaks. The sun shows up in its blazing glory and we wake up to the sound of birds singing outside of our windows. It feels like everyone is suddenly driving erratically, because spring is in the air! (Also the pot holes. Good grief.) We run errands we’ve been putting off and maybe, if we’re feeling really brave, we’ll even break out the grill and fill the neighborhood with the scent of community and longing. We put our kids on the bike or let them walk to their friends’ houses to draw on the driveways with chalk.
AND THEN IT FREAKING SNOWS AGAIN.
And (speaking for myself) my attitude goes to absolute crap and I question every life choice that has lead me this place. The place where I am voluntarily choosing to raise my family in a state where we are trapped inside the prison of our home for SIX MONTHS out of the year, suffocating under the bloat of survivalism. Those who have made different life choices are fleeing to the Caribbean and I have to hide Instagram on the back page of my phone so I don’t start to fall into the hole of comparison and envy.
I struggle to cling to gratitude, gritting my teeth as I wait for the real, actual spring to come. Because I know in faith that it has to, right? It can’t stay winter forever, right?
This is my metaphor.
This figurative “winter season of the soul” I’ve been in for the last 6 to 8 months… This place of emotionally dark days interspersed with glimmers of actual spring and the crushing disappointment of another freaking snowfall.
I started out with a strong attitude, I think. I bravely reached out to my community as I made the choice to go into specialized PTSD treatment away from my family for a month. I worked hard with the knowledge that God is guiding me through this healing process, and I am being transformed more and more into the person I was created to be.
I came home from the hospital just in time for Christmas, and have been thoroughly enjoying some genuinely “spring-like” moments. We are making plans for another summer in Serbia and I can see beauty of the future God is preparing for us.
I just need it to stop snowing.
The snows are not a setback, they are just part of the process. The journey itself is so important, and I’m trying to focus more on the day to day and not the outcome. But when the heart yearns so desperately for spring, sometimes I feel like it’d be easier to move south than deal with the drama of winter.
Anyone else feel me?
Please, God. My soul is weary. There is so much you have called me to – called my whole family to – and I believe it is more than I can even imagine. I know you are building something beautiful from the ashes of my story, but in this moment, I’m feeling a little buried in soot. I believe with all my heart you are bringing about a season of fruit and joy and harvest. I can see it when the storm breaks. But for now, I need you to be my strength. I’m holding on to you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from His sanctuary; my cry to Him reached His ears.
If you’re still reading this, thank you. I’m sorry my writing has been so melancholy! Honestly, it’s why I haven’t been posting very much. I tire of hearing my own laments, so I can’t imagine how others must feel. ;P But it occurs to me that no one benefits from only seeing another’s highlight reel. We need to know we’re not alone in our suffering, even if that suffering is prolonged beyond what we feel is “reasonable” or normal. Not every story wraps itself up neatly in the two-hour allotted time slot.
So if you’re suffering or someone you love is suffering and you’re at a loss, maybe watching my journey unfold will bring you hope. Because I do believe with all my heart that it cannot stay winter forever. My hope in Jesus keeps me afloat.
In the end it will all be ok. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end. ❤