December 12, 2016
For someone who finds herself in an anxiety-induced frenzy during the changing of seasons of life, I absolutely adore the changing of the seasons of weather.
I love the thawing of the earth as Winter moves into Spring and new green life peeks through the mud when the rain finally stops pounding the dirt. I love Spring leaping into Summer with magnificent thunderstorms and steamy days spent sweating and smiling and running, determined to soak up every second of sunlight and every minute of the still lengthening days. I love Summer fading into Fall, falling back in time, remembering that sleep is important and watching golden wheat be run down to feed America.
Where I’m from, where people rise before the sun and work straight through lunch and dinner because crops don’t pay attention to the time of day, Harvest is a sacred season.
There is something beautiful, holy almost, about mowing down still growing life to feed Human Life and it reminds me of a Savior who laid down His life for ours – and I find Love and Grace and Peace in the fields.
But my favorite season change is Fall into Winter.
Winter is a quiet season. It makes time and space for reflection and planning and just being. Snow falls thick on the ground and covers the earth like a protective blanket, encasing what creates Life in every other season for a Season of Rest. The dipping temperatures and the low-hanging clouds and the bare tree branches against pale gray skies invite us into a Season of Rest too.
Let the world keep its frantic shopping sprees and jokes about awful in-laws and stressful holidays. Let the world burn with envy if it insists, but give me Rest.
When Winter blows into my corner of the world, I build a fort to keep me warm and quiet until Spring showers come knocking.
My fort is built of yarn and knitting needles, of twinkling lights and old Christmas records, of blue pens and crinkled paper inked with words that feel too personal to speak aloud, and of hot food cooked in a crock pot and peppermint coffee.
And every year, as I finish my fort and step back to examine my work, I’m reminded that forts are only helpful in the cold and bitter seasons when they are shared.
So I tidy up a bit and I boldly write the words I want to share large on the walls of my fort. If you were to come visit, you would see them.
Across the door, it’s loud with joy: WELCOME.
Inside, it’s written daringly, scandalously: LOVE RESIDES HERE. PEACE ABOUNDS HERE. GRACE OVERFLOWS HERE.
And I would invite you in. I would wrap you in a hug and a quilt stitched with love from tiny scraps of fabric I found under my bed, like a mosaic of shards from a broken heart sewn into something new. I would stoke the fire and it would roar wildly to remind us that Life does not die in the Winter.
I would let the tea kettle screech as I whisper the words you need to hear and then pour the hot water into colorful mugs and we would watch the steam curl into the air, like our dreams rising out of the dust.
“Tell me yours,” I would ask, searching your eyes with my own, as if I could use them to peer into your soul. You would whisper softly everything you long for in life and I would smile at your courage.
“Anything is possible,” I would say, daring you to believe.
We would begin speaking it into existence, splashing our dreams bright against the white walls, our voices growing louder and the words coming faster with excitement. We would get caught up in the magic of believing in what the world claims is impossible and suddenly we would look up and see the lives we dream of painted on our hands and engraved on our hearts.
We would grow quiet again and marvel at the beauty of where we are and where we’re going.
“I can see it!” you would exclaim in surprise.
“So can I,” I would reply, a smile stretching across my face. “This is why Winter comes around every year. To remind us how to dream again.”