Sunday, January 10, 2016

In the bleak mid-winter

Winter can be a hard season. Though so far (mercifully) this winter has been fairly mild for Michigan, it snowed today and I used a snowblower for the first time...ever. So I am feeling very winter-y and mindful of how things can feel cold and barren and lifeless in the winter, both in natural seasons as well as seasons of life.

The other day as I was driving along I-96 and looking at the trees - we have a lot of them in Michigan - I was thinking how bare they are and how I still think they're pretty and about the amazing changes they go through every year. When the snow melts and the temperatures warm, they will spring to life with buds and blooms of celebration. But right now, they are silent and still. They are dormant...sleeping.

I was reading about trees, and it is actually possible to keep them from entering into dormancy by keeping them in a warm place and by controlling the light source, "however, this is bad for the tree." That's what the article said. When trees aren't allowed to go through their seasons it dramatically shortens their lifespan. The season of dormancy - of quiet, non-activity - is a needed and natural part of the life cycle.

It can be hard to navigate a winter season, whether professionally, spiritually, emotionally or otherwise. If you're like me, you like it busy and productive with lots of obvious fruit. But the truth is, we need both seasons. So embrace the interim of your winter and let its work be done - whether restoration, preparation or something else entirely - embrace it, for spring will surely come.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity...He has made everything beautiful in its time." Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 11