“There’s something amazing about this life. The very same worldly attribute that causes us pain is also what gives us relief: Nothing here lasts. What does that mean? It means that the breathtakingly beautiful rose in my vase will wither tomorrow. It means that my youth will neglect me. But it also means that the sadness I feel today will change tomorrow. My pain will die. My laughter won’t last forever but neither will my tears. We say this life isn’t perfect. And it isn’t. It isn’t perfectly good. But, it also isn’t perfectly bad, either.”
I have finally reached and crested the summit of my Great Winter journey. Since November, I have driven to Grand Rapids over ten weekends. I have moved my studio. I have completed a half-marathon. Each and every event has been significant and challenging. Not only have I been challenged in a way that was unexpected and more difficult than I had planned, my husband has been relegated to the “leftovers” of my time and energy. My dog, too, has been ignored more than I care to admit. Last, but certainly not least, my spiritual and physical practice, as well as my body, have suffered perhaps most of all.
As I set about on a short, 3-mile run with Cassie my dog on Sunday, I realized that I am at the point of rebuilding. Summer is setting in and everywhere I look, I see new life! Birds sing a happy and contented song. The grass grows nearly as fast as it can be mowed. The sun warms my body when I linger outside. Finally, I have achieved all that I set out to do last year.
As I ran, I felt freer than I had in a long time. I felt hope and energy bubbling beneath the surface of my breath. I felt alive, really alive. Over the winter, I realize that I had not been feeling much of anything except tired and a bit overwhelmed, and done. I wanted to be done with all that I had CHOSEN to do.
Now that I have finished the Great Winter, my husband and I celebrated on Saturday with a few beers and some well-deserved time alone. We built a fire in the yard and shared of ourselves. We rebuilt and reclaimed a path back to each other and I feel as if I am finding the path back to my life and to me.
Perhaps this winter has been a bigger challenge than you expected as well. You can choose to move forward with the changing of the season and to let the past dissolve into the past. Place your stake into the ground, draw the line and step across. Embrace your life with arms wide open. Build the bridges that need to be built to every area of your life. Mend relationships; get rid of the things that don’t serve your well. Say good-bye to the Great Winter journey!