While reading the other day I came across this quote by Celia Thaxter:
“There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.”
Liking it, I texted it to my friend with the following question: Can I have an eternal fall and winter in mine?
I’m sure she rolled her eyes. She knows how much I adore the fall with its pretty leaves, rosy-cheek breezes, and pumpkin spiced everything. But winter? She, and pretty much everyone else I know, can’t understand the crazy obsession I have for this cold, dreary, never-ending season.
Our conversation continued:
Her: Not winter!
Me: But I love it!
Her: But it’s desolate and void of love.
I get it! Winter is hard especially here in Michigan. Winter means you can’t go outside without pain. It means you (and your kiddos) are stuck inside for months on end. It means constant shoveling, tedious driving, and dealing with ice and snow.
Winter means days and days on end when sunshine is scarce and pretty much everything you look at is colorless, dead, and gray.
And for my friend, the season of life she’s in is kind of like winter too. Hard things are happening in her work and her family. People she loves have betrayed her. Right now there’s no end in sight.
Despite all of this when I read her response something in me snapped. I had this sudden conviction, this knowing with all my heart that her words, no matter how right they seemed, simply weren’t true.
Which is why I wrote: Oh no! Winter is full of love and far from desolate. Think of all those bulbs in the ground, in the dark just waiting to bloom. I was thinking about it this morning, how beauty and transformation and miracles always start in a dark place. So is winter desolate? I don’t think so. It’s full of life just waiting to happen. And as for love? Think of “Jen” snow! Of icicles shining in sunshine. Of how good coffee tastes and feels on a cold winter morning and how snuggly warm your most favorite blanket feels at night. Each of these and millions more are God saying, “I love you” all winter long.
Jen snow? Yes, I love the falling flakes so much my friends have coined a name for it.
At any rate, this was my knee jerk response to her comment, but I can’t stop thinking about it. About the life and the love that happens even in desolate seasons.
In seasons that seem like they’re void of warmth and all things good.
In seasons when life is hard, and cold, and dark. When we’re forced to wait for sunshine, to wait for spring to come.
In seasons when we feel all alone as though the ones we love…as though the One we love…has abandoned us.
I’ve lived these winters. I’m watching my friend live one now and I hope she can know what I know. I hope she can see and feel and experience the life and the love that’s still there. That’s happening all around her.
In the dark, in the hard, in the terribly lonely, life IS waiting to bloom. Love IS calling your name.
On my kitchen windowsill an amaryllis bulb my family was given for Christmas reaches just a little bit more for the sun each day, a reminder that spring is coming.
A perfect gift for those in the middle of winter.