Seasons have an uncanny ability to come and go, and somehow, we still find ourselves dreadfully unaware and under-prepared. I sit here now, perusing my mind for what I know is evidence of a pattern. That’s the thing about seasons; they cycle through a clear and expectant outline of objectives.
We know what to expect from Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. So, why are we inexplicably clueless in our expectations of seasonal life? We’ve become too dependent on the weather forecaster. Forever seeking guidance from outside sources. Only to blame them for never quite getting it right. Never owning our part in seasonal preparedness and readiness.
So, I sit and ask myself what I know about my current season of life. This is not a big picture season, but rather a minor season within a season. One that has come and gone repeatedly for decades. This season is earmarked by dark memories from childhood – more of a muscle memory. The holidays have always marked a shift in my energy and demeanor; a deep pendulum swing of sadness and discontent.
In my youth, I never quite understood it, but then I spoke to my Father. The worst moments of my parent’s marriage took place around the holidays. Disgust and disdain. Disappointment and Shame. An all-consuming energy of assault and abuse leading to the end of their marriage. And I was left holding the remnants of what was and what could have been.
But there’s always more. As heavy as the baggage from childhood is, it’s simply not enough to weigh me down on its own. So, what else is there? Let’s start with the obvious – WINTER. Something I used to look forward to; patiently waiting for the opportunity to shut off the A/C and open the windows. Now, I absolutely dread any dip of the barometer.
My mood had begun to shift in November; early morning temperature drops keeping me from the beach at sunrise. Little shifts in the weather causing fear and hesitation; reminding me how painful the cold can be. Day after day leading slowly to the coldest winter-weeks of my adult life. I count myself blessed to live in Florida, but I think it’s fair to say I was not prepared for 29 degrees. (Would you believe I used to live in Montana?)
My pain has been through the roof and my tolerance is waning. Layers of stress and muscle tension squeezing the life out of me. I need winter to be over, I need to get back to the sun and sand. I need to feel the warmth and beauty of a brand-new day. Thank God for warm fronts, but it’s not enough, because this seasonal pattern has depth.
Hide and Seek
What else do I know? I know that when my mood shifts drastically, I lose focus, and insight. I consume myself the idea of hiding – literally and metaphorically. I hide from the world and myself. I hide away in the dark solitude of loneliness, craving escape, wallowing in the calm of nothingness. I build walls while toiling with detailed plans of obsession and control. Consuming myself with everything and nothing – spinning in the chaos of Why and When.
There I stand, over my own grave, kicking dirt, and throwing stones. Oh, the world is there too from time to time, throwing in it’s handful of filth, but most days I happily bury myself. Why am I exhausted? Why am I dragging physically and mentally? After a summer of fun and adventure, a time of conquering and reflection, I find myself faced with excess pain and uncertainty. Why?
A Series of Events
A series of events has led me to letting go of all that brings me joy. I do this every time. I forget how important it is to keep a firm grasp on the gems in life. Prayer, meditation, walks, talks, bike rides, reading, singing, dancing, worship, photography, and connecting with God’s beauty – these are the things that hold me together. And still, I toss them to the side, deeming them easily replaceable. It’s amazing to me how desperately I will seek joy, after systematically burying all things steeped in it.
I must believe everything will work out for the best. I believe God has a plan and is certainly answering prayers. Yet, I find myself questioning the timing. Must the good always come from the bad? Must there always be a struggle? Why is triumph found in pain? We’ve had one fight after another since October; car accidents; hurricanes; insurance companies, attorneys, doctors, and more. When does it end?
Short-term disability has come and gone and now we sit in the gap. Waiting on the possibility of long-term; left in limbo. No money coming in, yet money always going out. Stuck in the middle. The layers of expectation and responsibility are too much for me most days. I want to lean into the ease of living in the moment, but I find myself buried in questions, concerns, and what-ifs. I don’t want to be an adult anymore.
The truth is, I need to rest!
Photo by Denys Nevozhai