Winter’s Tale

I am not the biggest fan of winter. For a Canadian girl living near the Great Lakes, I question how people survive the more extreme climates and entirely understand the snowbirds departure every fall. I truly must remember that every season has its perks and challenges.

The first glimpses of change with the pages turning on the calendar invoke awe and wonder – a sense of excitement with every new bud on a tree, the sun warm enough to lounge in, the leaves majestic in their autumn splendor. Unfortunately as the seasons progress we lose appreciation for the same things that once excited us.

The scent of a rainy spring day doesn’t evoke the urge to jump in puddles, but instead we complain about the mud. The warmth of the summer sun is no longer a blessing, but a curse as the sweat rolls off our brow. The golden foliage of fall becomes a reminder of dark and damp days. We crave a return to the season we left or impatiently wait for the next season’s arrival, hopelessly bound to that innate disastisfaction for where we are and we lose admiration for the season we’re in.

For me, winter is the hardest season. It’s cold, barren, bitter. The fresh crisp days and freshly fallen snow that made me exclaim in delight with the first arrival are no longer reflections of light and purity, but inconvenient, lonely and isolating. The pristine snow-covered fields are now windblown and stained, the days long in dreariness but short in warmth and sunlight.

But winter is necessary – as necessary as the sun in summer. In winter, nature is at rest. It’s completed its cycle of growth and productivity for another year and it replenishes as it prepares for the following spring. The trees are naked and ugly. The gardens are bare and useless. The ground is no longer lush and vibrant. While I enjoy short bursts outdoors to clear my mind and get fresh air, I tend to bury myself indoors and cocoon myself away bemoaning the forecast of ice and snow and frigid temperatures. However, all my useless complaints aside, the earth is healing and silently preparing for the changes to come in the near future.

As with every season, winter will not last forever – whether it’s the season on a calendar or a winter of your heart. The spring will return with signs of growth and beauty, blossoming into fullness and maturity and eventually preparing to rest once again.

Maybe you feel like you’re stuck in a season of winter. You feel isolated and barren. Your purpose seems lost. The days are long and dreary as you merely cycle through mindlessly waiting for some sign of life. You are weighted down by the mundane. But this season you’re in? It’s really a season of rest – a season vital to upcoming growth. Just accept that it’s a chance to recharge and replenish and find solace in solitude and strength in serenity before you face change once again.

Perhaps you don’t feel like your stranded in a season of cold and staleness. Perhaps you’re seeing the first inklings of a dream coming true and now impatiently want to see the full development. Or you’re thick in the midst of a project or stage that has you gasping for air and you crave a chance to cool down. Take note of the season you’re in and know that it too serves a purpose in a cycle of continuous maturing.

Appreciate the beauty of your season and wait with hope for each purposeful moment in the journey through spring showers, sun-drenched summer, autumn bounty, and even winter storms. Without winter, we have no spring, without spring, no summer… don’t lose delight in your season, but recognize it for the greater purpose it serves… as Ecclesiastes says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven;”

Burritos and Purpose

My youngest son is not picky, with the exception of pizza, hot dogs, and breads (unless it’s a bakery loaf.) He loves new restaurants, enjoys picking out new recipes (“Mom, we should try this one!”), and will usually eat any home cooked meal he’s served.  His faves include potatoes in any form, butter chicken (but not the way I make it), and rice and peas. (Grandpa’s are still his favourite.)
The last few weeks he’s been asking for burritos… but not at-home burritos – fast food burritos. The closest burrito bar is about 25 minutes from us.  Considering it’s the last official day of winter break… and that I have to pick up Kaleb’s skis from the pro-shop across the street from a Mucho Burrito, we decided to have a lunch date today and finally get our burritos..
That is my priority. I have a million other stops to attempt, and I know running a full day of errands means he’ll most likely get on my nerves. (Honestly, we haven’t left yet and I’ve already spent most of my vocal time encouraging him to stop.  Stop what? Well… everything.) But lunch today is more than just a burrito. 
It will be a phones down, one-on-one pause in our busyness. It’s recognizing that the days are long, but the years are short… and one day, I’ll be fighting for his attention. It’s reminding him that he’s a person of importance in my life. It’s a chance to laugh, dig into what’s on his mind, and make memories together. It’s solidifying that presence is important, family matters, and that relationships take intentional nurturing – even if it’s just over fast-food burritos.
God grant me patience… and here’s hoping for no heartburn.