Sunday, March 29, 2009
You know how sometimes your life seems to have a theme? Like the same topic will keep popping up over and over?? Well anyway, my life's theme for the past eh, year and a half has been "seasons". We all got 'em. No, not like fall, winter, spring, summer. I'm talking about romance, joy, passion, pain, loneliness, singleness, rebellion, repentance, brokenness, etc. Those wonderful, awful things that make up our life. A few days ago I read an article called "Winter Gifts" about the season of "winter" in our lives. Pain. Betrayal. Loneliness. Death. Depression. Uncertainty. Darkness. It's the most misunderstood season I think. People don't know what to do with it. We usually just try to hurry through it asap to get to spring time again. At least I do. I hope I'm not alone in this. So I thought I'd share this, and hopefully it'll shed a little light into someone's "winter"...
I am not sure that any sight or sound on earth is as exquisite as the hushed descent of a sky full of snow. Winter is a reminder that times of dormancy and deep rest are essential to all living things. Nature is not dead in winter-it has gone underground to renew itself and prepare for spring. Winter is a time when we are admonished, and even inclined, to do the same for ourselves.
But for me winter has an even greater gift to give. It comes when the sky is clear, the sun is brilliant, the trees are bare, and the first snow is yet to come. It is the gift of utter clarity. In winter, one can walk into the woods that had been opaque with summer growth only a few months earlier and see the trees clearly, singly, and together, and the ground they are rooted in.
Winter clears the landscape, giving us a chance to see ourselves and each other more clearly, to see the very ground of our being. Our inward winters take many forms, -failure, betrayal, depression, death. But every one of them yields to the same advice: "The winters will drive you crazy until you learn to get out in them." Until we enter boldly into the fears we most want to avoid, those fears will dominate our lives. But when we walk directly into them-protected from frostbite by the warm garb of friendship or inner discipline or spiritual guidance-we can learn what they have to teach us. Then we discover once again that the cycle of the seasons is trustworthy and life-giving, even in the most dismaying season of all.
-Parker J. Palmer