So many years ago, it feels at times as if it never happened, I staggered through life with leaden feet, as if I walked through a quagmire. It was a season of sadness for me. I’m not sure to this day exactly what brought it on with such force. This interval of time on my life journey sometimes feels like a moment long passed. A blip on the radar. At other times, it seems to have lasted an eternity and its effects are etched deep.
Unfortunately, it’s not unusual to hear of someone close to us who struggles with crippling emotions. However, when I went through this dark period, it was not so common to speak about it. From this challenging time, I learned a great deal about myself through introspection and I developed coping mechanisms for the management of my emotions.
The first day of spring was a month past but I continue to enjoy the season with new varieties of flowers popping up, colorful butterflies flitting from one flower to another in search of nectar (I love butterflies), and warmer weather arriving with blue sunny skies. Spring is my favorite time of year because it reminds me that new beginnings are possible. Out of the barren ground springs new life. Nature wakes from its sleep and with it, beauty is reborn.
“Lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle (turtledove) is heard in our land.” (Song of Solomon 2:11,12)
Just as seasons in nature come and go, so do seasons in our lives. As human
beings, we all walk through similar seasons, based on our stage in life; birth, growth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and elder days. However, not all seasons along our life journey follow much of a pattern. At one time or another, we all encounter seasons of joy and sadness, good health and illness, stability and insecurity, triumph and loss, no matter what stage of life we inhabit. Many times, we don’t know how we are going to weather the storm of a difficult season of life when it blows across our path.
Several of my friends have in the recent past or are in the middle of a season of difficulty, slogging through life-altering changes. A fight with cancer. A divorce. The loss of a beloved sister. A miscarriage. The loss of a long-term heartfelt project. Unexpected illness. Depression. Chronic pain. The loss of a dream.
Sadly, it is the human condition that at one time or another, difficult seasons blow in. Whether they are felt in our bodies, our minds, or our emotions, we cannot avoid them.
A key element to successfully traversing a difficult season is in how we respond. In the spirit of spring, how we deal with the difficult can bring forth flowers or weeds; beauty or bitterness. We can grow stronger from a difficult season. This growth gives us new strength to better handle the difficult when it comes back around. From the ashes of sadness and despair, a deeper kind of joy can be born. From the struggle, a deep well of strength can be discovered. From turmoil, unexpected peace can be found.
With the burning down comes re-birth. The ash and joy mixed together, weave a paradoxical yet beautiful life. It is up to us how we respond.