The Winter of our Discontent…

As I write, there is a gentle snow falling, falling, falling… outside my window.

And I want to scream.

If you live in the northeast, I know you’re screaming along with me.
Enough already!!!

Of course, it has had its entertainment value as well.
Here are some of my favorite coping memes I’ve been seeing out there in social media land:

Yeah, you gotta laugh.  Cause, seriously, this is ridiculous.

And what really feels ridiculous about it, is the whole starting/stopping/starting/stopping dance going on with the tease of spring.

What’s that I see?  Daffodils peeking out?  Teeny tiny buds on trees?  Oh, joy!  But wait… Here comes the snow.  Sigh.  It’s ok, just one last hurrah. It’ll pass.  And it does!  Ooh, look!  The hint of green grass.  Here comes the sun!  And a burst of yellow forsythia?  Oh, rapture!  Wait, what?  Snowing?  Again?  Well, at least we don’t have to shovel it this time.  And it IS kinda pretty, after all.  Alright, winter, you’ve had your fun. It’s been great.  But time to go, now. B’bye.  And it does!  Wow, 70 degrees?  Finally!  Shed that jacke… aaaaand… it’s snowing.  Again.


I know.  You feel my pain.  Well, maybe not, if you live in the south, or anywhere else in the world where this completely unacceptable situation is NOT happening.  But please feel free to feel my pain accordingly.

And of course, there are worse problems out there.  I know.

But it’s just plain discouraging.

Just when you think the looooong winter is over, and spring is finally here…  The cold. The dreariness.  The cabin fever.  All done for now, thank you very much.  We’ve made it! Time for the renewal you hoped would come, but began to wonder if was just an elusive dream. But it’s not a dream.  It’s here now. You can see it.  You can feel it.  The signs are everywhere.  The promise has been fulfilled. The season of singing has come!

And there it goes. Winter again.

But wait.  It’s back! Welcome Spring, I knew you’d…

Nope.  Gone again. Poof.

So, you know by now, I’m not just talking about the weather.  Right?  I mean, I am.  But come on, what are we all about here, if not metaphors?

I’ve written about long seasons before.  And as much as I hate to spell it all out, and ruin the metaphor, I will say this:

Sometimes we know things in our rational brains that we still can’t quite access with the part of us that, well, doesn’t want to be all logical. We know that seasons are just that.  They do not last forever.  Even when the transitions are not definitive, or even close.
Yes, yes, we know.  But it still doesn’t keep us from feeling discouraged.

And today, I feel discouraged.  And a little overwhelmed.

I kind of hate writing that.  It’s an admission I don’t like to make. It looks kind of pathetic.  And I could swear, even as I’m staring at it, it’s staring right back at me, in this cocky little way, like some kind of 8th grade mean girl, saying mean things that 8th grade girls can say when weakness reveals itself in their presence.

So I mostly don’t talk about it.  Cause, what’s the point?  I tell myself.

But here’s the point.  Discouragement leads to isolation.  Isolation leads to more discouragement.   Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I don’t think that’s the cycle we’re meant for.

So, I am breaking the cycle.  And admitting it.  Oh, I’ve already admitted it to God. And that’s a good place to start.  Cause, seriously, if we can’t admit it to Him, who are we kidding?

But if we can’t be honest with each other, we’re not really loving our fellow misfits all that well now, are we?  I get why we do this.  We don’t want to be bringing each other down.  Sure, sure. There’s enough of that out there.  But there’s another side to this pendulum that tends to be our default, and that is this fake persona we hide behind, where everything is always “great”, and it’s safer to not let anyone know what’s really going on, cause oh the can of worms…

Sometimes the last thing you want to do is let people in.

Just like the last thing you want to do is not eat an entire pan of brownies.  Or go to the gym (in lieu or as a result of, said pan of brownies).

But sometimes the thing we need to do hides itself in “I don’t want to”.  The thing that will set us free, in a way that a whole pan of brownies promises but does not deliver. Oh, those lying brownies.

Maybe that’s why the Bible talks about “rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn”.  It’s not just one.  Or the other.  It’s both.  And it’s a two way street.

We need each other.  We need to let each other know when things are a-okay.  And we need to let each other know then they’re not.  It’s that simple.

So I am outing myself.  Things don’t feel a-okay right now.  Oh, I know they will be.  I know this season is not forever.  I even know that good things are happening that I can’t see (“just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snow lays the seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose…” yes, yes, song lyrics say it all, don’t they?) I know God is good.  I know He hasn’t changed.  But right now, I feel bleh.  I even know I won’t always feel this way.  But I am admitting it.

And not just here.  Cause, come on, that’s still kinda “safe”.  The real test comes when I admit it to the 3D people I actually interact with on a regular basis.

So if I can do it, you can, too.  Not that I’m assuming you’re discouraged.  I hope you’re not.  But if you are, then yes, I am challenging you.  Reach out to someone.  Or, if that’s too much, maybe pray and ask God to mercifully send someone to reach out to you.  He does that kind of thing.  Only, be ready to respond when the reaching happens, and resist the urge to put on your game face and revert to “a-okay” mode.  And if everything’s truly a-okay, you know what?  Still reach out to someone.  Build up that relationship equity now.  That’ll make it easier when the long winter comes.

It just stopped snowing, by the way.  Not that it won’t start up again later.
But it can’t last forever.  Right?


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