Winter is beautiful too

July 2, 2017

You’re in this season for a reason…

For whatever reason, when we’re pinned down and told to stay put, we want to do the exact opposite. Throw our hands up to the sky, make a noise, kick against the system and fight with a revolutionary’s heart.

I am no exception. If I don’t happen to like a situation I find myself in, I try to push, squirm and work my way out of it, with varying degrees of success… And usually a lot of tears.

But it occurred to me one day, that maybe I shouldn’t be fighting, struggling, “grrrring” at the lot I’ve been handed. Maybe I shouldn’t be charging into battle with the rage of a thousand armies and the noise of a thousand drums.

Maybe I should just accept where I’m at. No, not just accept it… Embrace it. Say what?? That’s right, I said, embrace it.

So shouldn’t you push back? Shouldn’t you try climb your way out of an unhappy hole? Shouldn’t you put those muscles to work and show the world what you’re made of?

Of course you should.

You should push the boundaries. You should push yourself. You should push against something or someone who’s holding you down or holding you back.

But this isn’t about accepting the status quo. This is about accepting your situation. For now at least.

I’ve come to believe that maybe, just maybe, you’re supposed to be where you are, in the situation you find yourself in, interacting with the people you see on a daily basis, running that very hamster wheel you find yourself on, for a reason.

“Come on? A reason, seriously?” you may say with a “I’ve-heard-that-one-too-many-times” tone in your voice.

Yes, maybe you’re supposed to be where you’re at right now.

Before you raise an eyebrow, how about an example to explain myself?

If it wasn’t for the situation I find myself in (a busy wife and mommy/creative/writer), the idea for this blog would not have been born. And I wouldn’t be sitting behind my computer typing away and you wouldn’t be reading this. As I mentioned in my first blog post, because of the very humdrum of working-laundry-cooking-lullabying days, I felt my creativity squeezed into a corner and I had to find an outlet. More busyness, more pressure, more noise and… suddenly, the idea for Imagine Aloud came out swinging. Precisely because of the time-consuming stress of my everyday routine, something new and creative was sparked in me. See where this is going?

And as I’m learning to accept the situation I’m in, I’m finding inspiration and creativity there. I’m finding joy and wonder. And wonder-filled moments, simply because I’m settling into the situation I’m in and giving myself time to actually take it in, instead of using all my energy to fight my way out of it. We always seem to run after what we don’t have, but often what we actually want is right in front of us. In my baby’s blue eyes and his belly laugh, in my boy’s awe of the world and his constant quest to learn new things, in a tired cuddle next to my Handsome at the end of a long day, I find my inspiration. Even as I write this in stops and starts between reading stories and comforting little ones who won’t sleep, I am amazed at the miracles before me.

While I type away, my baby is mastering the art of standing on his own. Can you imagine how many incredible miracles that happened along the way to make this possible? Think about it.

While I bath my son, he’s inventing a story of his own, when just over a year ago he was saying three-word sentences.

While I peel carrots for dinner, I’m thinking about how my life has multiplied with my growing family and all the love goes with it.

Life can be full of wonder if you want it to be. But trust me, it’s not always easy to put on your “wonder-lenses” in the chaos of tripping over untidied toys, 5 o’clock-let’s-pull-our-hair-out-hour, sitting in traffic, working until you want to fall over or feeling like you’re not getting anywhere fast. We have to keep reminding ourselves to look for wonder when life takes over. But seeing through new eyes can honestly change your life or at least help you get through a season you’d rather not be in at all.

But what if your situation’s not just about you? Imagine walking a road not only as part of your journey, but to help someone else along theirs too… Ready for another example?

My youngest son (now almost 15 months) was born with clubfeet due to an underlying syndrome in our family that causes contractures of the hands and feet. Was this a fun thing to face? No. Was this what I wanted for my little baby boy? No. Did I wish that I could take it away from him and not see him suffer? Of course. But in spite of all of that, I knew that this situation was going to be used for good. I just knew it. Even from the moment we found out when he was still growing in my belly… And in one week, it came full circle. I’ve been able to help two different families walking the same road that we have with our boy. I was able to reach out with empathy, give advice and offer hope and comfort, not because I have all the answers, but simply because I’m familiar with the road and know all the bumps and detours along the way.

After sending photo’s of my baby’s progress to one family, I received a voice-note from the proud and worried granny of a brand new baby boy. It was filled with so much emotion – hope and relief all bundled into one – that I just started to cry. If I hadn’t been through it, all I would’ve been able to offer was a sympathetic “I’m thinking of you” or I may never have met these precious people at all.

The cold, the clouds, the spindly trees of a winter season may seem like the closing of a chapter, the giving up of an idea or the end of the line, all playing to the unsettling tune of nothingness. But actually you’re standing on fallowed ground – land that’s been plowed and harrowed, but left unsown for a period in order to restore its fruitfulness. Let that sink in… No really, take a moment…

Winter creates breathing space for new life. What we consider to be barren, has been designed to rest in order to bring about new life. And how incredibly fruitful the spring that follows will be.

So maybe it’s time to stop and be okay with where you’re at. Even if it’s just for now. Because winter is beautiful too.

Photograph by Norman Hanna – Taken on a wintry Canadian day in 2015


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