I’ve been living in the land of winter. Paradoxically, it’s beautifully green outside my windows at the moment. I mean my soul has been in winter. It has been barren. Tired. Worn out. Grief stricken. Bereaved. Heart sore. Dismayed. I have trundled on. Feet frequently filled with lead. More hopeless than hopeful. More worn than I would like.
Winter has been hard. The grief has been bigger than I could understand. It’s been cumulative. A cousin. Two uncles. A mentor. A grandmother. A friend. A season of passing that I could not have anticipated. And I played at every one of those services. I think part of winter sits there. When you’re “on” for the event to remember, you are not allowed to grieve with everyone else. You have to keep it together because, in a moment, your service with be required. It’s not bad, it’s just hard. You park it because you must. And I’m not certain if I haven’t parked some of that grief permanently. Put it in the cupboard and stacked the boxes around it so that it can’t come out.
Winter has not been bad. I’ve been richly blessed by winter. I have discovered things I love – curling. (Slightly more than love – a little overzealous about it, perhaps). I have discovered the land of God’s blessing. If there is any sort of takeaway for me from this winter of the soul, it is the affirmation and deep awareness of God’s goodness in my life. The overarching goodness. It’s not situational, although situations bear testimony to it. It’s not causation-al, although God’s goodness has caused me to be more grateful than I have been in the past. It’s a foundational reality. God is good. Therefore His goodness can be found all over the place. Not just in the “good” stuff that happens to me but everywhere and all the time. That’s been an essential learn.
Winter cannot be rushed. As I’ve spoken about the winter of my soul with others in my circle, they have wanted to move me to spring or summer NOW! I’m convinced winter doesn’t work like that. It comes in on quiet cat’s feet and settles in kind of like the snow that blankets the landscape in these parts every year. And just like the snow melts and disappears in its own good time, the winter of my soul lifts and shifts. I’m not sure how I will know that my winter has ended, but I think I will. I actually don’t want it to leave before it is meant to do so. To rush it away is to miss the lessons of it. To rush it away is to run from the hard parts of it. To rush it away is to miss the truths of God’s character that are found in it. There are lessons I’m experiencing and learning that I cannot find in any other season of the soul. To rush past them is to miss God’s character and beauty that I cannot find in a different season.
In some ways, I wonder if the renovation of my house has not been part of a “springlike” beginning. It’s been hard. The packing. The moving. The losing. The giving away. The finding. And yet, all through the renovation there are signs of God’s hand. The timing of things happening. The weather outside that prompted work inside. The time in July as opposed to the frenetic of June when it could not have happened. The new that has come. New floors, new paint, new baseboards, new furniture arrangements, new. The desire to spend time in my space. The satisfaction with quiet. The leaves rustling in the open windows. The settled-ness as each box has been unpacked and a home for its contents found. Much of it is old – same furniture, same rooms, same stuff that was put in boxes. And yet it’s new. Different. Hopeful.
… then I will send rain on your land in its season … Deuteronomy 11:14a
The rain is only sent when it is meant to be sent. God has known exactly what season I’ve been in. It’s been no surprise to Him. He has been there in it and through it all along. The change in season will only come in His good timing. So I rest in the goodness of God. It’s the best place to be.