The Long Winter
The power went out around 8:00 last night. Kids had just finished their baths and talk of a game of Rook for the adults after bedtime was in works. Then the darkness came and the realization that candle conservation would need to happen—just in case. These Georgia storms can be particular and who knows if we’ll be out of power for one hour or two days, so instead we divided up and snuggled with our littles and called it an early bedtime.
All through the night branches cracked and fell under the weight of the ice-glaze that was forming over them. No snow this time, much to my children’s chagrin– just a pesky, troublesome ice blanket over everything.
Big prayers were prayed that this mama at 39 weeks wouldn’t go into labor at 3:00 a.m. and we’d have to brave the black ice in the middle of the night. So far so good. And if things go according to my plan, we’ll be in the hospital tomorrow and have a baby by dinner-time. Something I still can’t believe even though my back, legs and lack of comfortable sleep over the past few months could easily testify to this truth.
As I look out this morning on the new scenery—house still sleeping under warm covers—I’m struck by the beauty of the landscape. Everything covered in sparkling white and glistening. Still. Especially the trees.
The covering, though, seems painful for the trees. It weighs them down and breaks away the weak branches. One cracked pear tree succumbed to the weight and split completely in half, giving us all a startle just before bed. If these trees could talk I’m sure they’d tell us they can’t wait for sunshine to melt this away. They are heavy and breaking and the pieces fall crackling to the ground with a thud.
And us, too, would love to see the ice go. It took our power away, trapped us at home and we are forced to change our plans to simply sit in the darkness and quiet and wait and wonder if the Blue Bell in the freezer would survive the night.
The ice speaks to me today as a metaphor for my own winter season. Or what feels like a long winter. I understand this blanket of ice, covering everything and breaking away the weak branches. I understand the waiting, watching, hoping (and some days losing hope) as the breaking is painful at times and the spring feels like it’s never coming. Being tired of the chill and of the not-quite-knowing when this season is going to end.
So I wait.
I wait for sunshine to melt away the icy covering that breaks and tears away the weakest parts. I wait with a renewed expectation of springtime and new growth and the changes that will hopefully be visible in my own make up after weathering a storm. And I try not to grow weary with the process of soul-pruning that is snapping off the twigs, cracked limbs and dead branches, which were too many after years of neglect.
And I’m sitting in the stillness that extreme weather can bring. The when-you-can-do-nothing-else-but-wait sort of place where God says watch Me. Trust Me. Be brave when I ask you to—even if bravery is watching old ways of thinking and being and moving fall away and welcoming in something new.
And knowing that in the midst of a long winter, eventually…
Springtime will come.