Friday, March 14, 2008

Remembering to Ask, 'What's Next?!'

I can tell it's the month of March. This is the month when winter is like a beloved but frustrating relative who has stayed way too long at your tiny house and you-can't-take-it-anymore. Yes, that's what the month of March feels like here in the Northeast. It's long. It's still cold. And it's hard to be zesty and creative and ready to burst into song in a month like March.

This is the month when we are not quite in the season of Spring, yet the mall has stores displaying bright colored shorts and halter tops and you think you're about to take a quick trip to the tropics or something. You think that, while you're at the mall, and then you step outside in the cold and remember otherwise.

But it isn't just the cold that gets to you up here in the great Northeast. It's the fact that everything is so gray and dingy and rather hopeless looking. I miss the bright colored green grass, the deep blue skies, the festive flowers poking out of people's front gardens. I know they'll come, but it feels like we're a long way away. It feels like winter lasts forever- and that's when it's hard to get all stirred up in your soul and zealous for living.

This is the time of year when you really need to be a cheerleader for your own soul. I can see why David spoke to himself and said "Self, put your trust in God," over and over (in the book of Psalms). You know how to cheer yourself on better than anybody. You know where you are lying low in hope. If I count how often I take deep breaths and sigh, I can tell how much I am struggling with the weight of winter on me. The winter of our soul is a time when we see little growth or no vibrancy of life. We know all is not dead- but perhaps its been delayed or we've become disillusioned.

If we're feeling a bit dreary, this is when we've got to remember how Spring bursts with such life and vigor that strong muscles are needed to contain its growth. Gardens that burst with life also burst forth with weeds as well, and someone has to dig them up and cart them away. (Not that I'm a gardener. But I've observed all this!) You often need actual physical strength to enjoy the good times and you need inner strength to get you through the slow times or the dry times.

So, to get through this month, I first have to remember this month will not last forever. (That's perspective). Then I have to remember what the next couple months are all about: spring rains, more sunshine, and growth of all kinds. (That's expectation of good).

If I remember that I will get a second wind, I won't get stuck in feeling stuck. I may feel tired of winter, but I'll remember it doesn't last forever. And on remembering that, I'll get ready to say good-bye to it. I'll prepare emotionally and spiritually to welcome what's next. Of course, that gets me thinking that I'm not sure exactly what comes next. I'm glad of that. As I contemplate what these "new things" might be, I realize the sky is the limit.

And I'm so glad God works that way.

"For lo, the winter is past...The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come." (Song of Solomon 2:11,12)


TexasTesla said...

Much like the difficult times in our lives, winter seems to last forever and drain our energy. It's important to remember that spring will always come - it's inevitable, thankfully.

And so, even in our darkest moments, we should hold onto that thread of hope...that our own personal "spring" will arrive inevitably as well. It may not come as quickly as you like, it might take some time to build...but it WILL come.

Here in the Northwest, new residents are always encouraged during the rainy months with "ah, but wait for summer - summer is glorious". I'm holding on for summer!

LAUREN at Faith Fuel said...

I actually think I'd do okay in the Northwest with all that rain. I have always found rain to be soothing and quieting- but then again I haven't lived with it day after day for weeks (months?!) at a time!

Faith said...

Great post! I am sooo not a March person. (nor Feb. for that matter!!). I am looking forward to spring for sure. And yes, those "winter moments" in our lives eventually turn to spring if we persevere!

Mike said...

I'm amazed how long your winters are over there. Spring is beginning here now. Thanks for the reminder to keep looking forward. Praise God that He has such wonder in store for us!

Spirited Strider said...

I like to think of March as a time to "spring forward," just as we did for daylight's savings time this year. It always seem to be such a hopeful month to me, as I look forward to Spring and all of its awakenings (and say goodbye to cold, wintry February). But this year was different as it was incredibly warm here in NYC. I am a bit mixed up with the seasons (or lack thereof) this year, and see that nature sometimes gets it confused, too. Buds were forming on trees earlier, some birds are coming back sooner than usual and some never left...

Makes me wonder about how summer will be!

Marlo B. said...

Talk about long winters - up here in central Canada we usually have snow from November to April. It is a dingy day here today much like you described in your post. I am looking forward with great expectation to the daffodils, tulips, bird songs and tender green shoots peeking through the last of the winter snow and frost.