I have spent all morning watching the first real snowfall of the year. It’s not a heavy snow, but it is a clear sign that winter is here!
There is beauty to a fresh snowfall! The flakes fall gently or lightly toss around to eventually form a blanket of white on the earth, making you feel like you are living in a snow globe! As a kid, I couldn’t wait for winter. The season meant snowmen, snowball fights, sledding and maybe even the occasional “snow day” off from school! It was also the season of holidays, family and all that yummy comfort food!
Though I’m not much of an outdoorsy winter person anymore, I still enjoy this time of year. There is my love of big sweaters, warm socks, beautiful scarves, and wrapping up in a soft, fluffy blanket with a hot beverage. There is also something to be said for watching the snow fall from the warmth of your home! It is a time when I catch up on my reading or try to learn new skills, like knitting or trying new recipes. My life tends to take a slower pace and I can enjoy a mental and physical recharge from the overactive summer and fall! It’s true that the grown-up part of me is not a big fan of shoveling, heating bills or treacherous driving situations, but I still enjoy winter for all these other reasons.
I think this quote says it pretty well:
“Winter is a time of gray, velvet weather drifting towards us. It arrives on “little cat feet” and curls itself around us like the fog in Sandburg’s poem. The weather is a friend if you make it one. I look forward to the gray, quiet time for solitude, contemplation, reading, long conversations with friends. Colors are softer, sounds have more depth, the pace is gentler. Instead of resentment at the lack of sun, snuggle into the gray velvet quilt and make yourself a cup of tea.”
~ Jennifer Jones, Success Is the Quality of Your Journey
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
Well, that may be more of a summer analogy, but in her writing about winter I think the author is saying that you can take your circumstances and make what you want of them. Just as winter can be viewed as a bleak time of year – cold, hard, dark and dreary at times – it is also a time when the earth hibernates and prepares for the newness of spring. You can choose to see only the bleakness of the season, or you can choose to take advantage of it and turn it into a positive.
The same can be said for life! We will all experience periods of despair, or fall on times when we wonder how we might ever recover from our current situation or circumstances. And while we may be sad or worry during those times, it is from them that we can learn and grow. In a recent sermon, our Pastor said “Through your challenges, God gives you a platform to share your gifts.” In other words, my problem now can become my ministry later, or may lead me to my calling.
How appropriate that over the last few months, I have felt this becoming more true in my own life. While I am still in the midst of my grief over the loss of my parents, I have found opportunities to use that grief to share with others who are going through their own loss. It is not always easy, and I don’t always know the right things to say. Sometimes I am led to simply listen and that can often be what that person needs the most – someone to talk to, who understands. Sometimes it is as simple as letting them know that they are not alone in what they are feeling, or what they are going through.
And though those opportunities are not about me, they have helped me in so many ways!
For a while now, I have been praying for guidance on how I can be of service. I have volunteered in several different ways, for different organizations, but I have yet to find my true “calling”. It is just recently that I have thought that maybe what I learn from dealing with my own loss could be a way to help others.I still have a way to go in my own grief journey, but if I can take these experiences and use them in a way to help those going through the same thing – I think that would be a pretty good way to give back!
I thought I would end today’s post with an interesting entry I found, that seems to sum things up well…
“I have these wind chimes on my back porch. The wind starts howling…the rain starts to fall and in all that storm I hear this beautiful sound… the tinkling of chimes making music, in the midst of the storm. This is the parable of our lives. In the greatest storms of our lives, we can make beautiful music!”
~ from Chimes – In the Storms of Our Lives (www.sermongarden.com)