If you are lucky enough to live in a place where the snow falls across the landscape periodically in the winter, you know what newness looks like. For those of you who do not, you’ll have to use your imagination. Imagine the fall season, when everything looks beautiful for awhile. This quickly gives way to a season of brown, a season of sleep and of death. The landscape becomes colorless and rather uninspiring. Many times the paths become muddy, adding to the ugliness after fall. You begin to wonder whether you’ll ever see signs of color again.
Seasons of our lives are like that too, devoid of color, of life & of hope. The most important thing to remember during times like these is that it is only a season. Sometimes the season seems to last a short while, and we are grateful. Sometimes the season drags on until you’re not sure you can stand another minute. Seasons are wonderful, because they are limited. The brown time after fall does not last forever. Neither do the ugly times we walk through in life, or the hectic times, or the times when everything around us seems to be losing life.
When snow comes, it has not really purified anything. It hasn’t cleaned up the ground. It hasn’t yet put fresh water into the springs. It hasn’t fixed any of the things that need to be fixed. It simply covers everything, insulates it and causes life to slow. It changes the view you have on life because it changes the landscape around you. It forces you to pause, and to reflect on what is possible, what is feasible and what can wait. If it was not terribly important before the snow, it will be less so once the snow has fallen. It sharpens perspective and priorities. And it gives our brains a time of rest to hope and to dream. You cannot plant a garden, but you have a spot of longing to dream about the garden. You cannot fix the roof, but you can prepare for the task on the next lovely day.
In life, we all need the different seasons that we walk through. Many people resent winter, but I’m an advocate of it. Winter in life might seem as though everything is on hold, stuck, slow and cold. But winter also gives time for rest, reflection and the dreams of hope to begin. It insulates us for a bit so that all of life is not sadness or busyness. It covers things with white so that we can change perspective and come again at life from a different angle and with a better strategy. Just like newly fallen snow.
If you’re in a late autumn or winter season of your life, I recognize that it is sometimes very unpleasant. When those times come, try accepting it as a gift to slow, adjust, sleep and finally dream. There will be time enough to be busy once spring hits. For now, enjoy the newness of freshly fallen snow.