Spring & Winter

This month. Six weeks, really. Six weeks and three days, actually. Not that I’m counting. (Yes, I am.) I’m counting the minutes, the hours, the days.

The minutes seem like hours. The hours, like days. Days, like weeks.

I hobble along on crutches. Reaching for this and for that. Everything takes longer. Everything feels harder. I break down in the laundry room. Tears roll off my face as I stumble from washer to dryer. As I bend ever so slowly to pick up dropped clothing. The floor is dirty, I notice. Sweeping is nearly impossible. Tears come again in the kitchen as I try to prepare dinner. What used to take 15 minutes, now takes an hour. The kids play and I’m on the sidelines. When was the last time we took a walk? Ran around the front yard?

Frustration is my constant companion.

Six weeks (and three days ago) my body was strong. Ready for 26 miles. I don’t recognize this body now. It feels frail and weak. I’m not at home here–in this body–yet this is my home. I will my hip to heal and curse myself for not listening to the screams of my body on the marathon course.

What was I thinking, I ask myself? If I would have known would I have done it differently?

That’s neither here nor there, Chad reminds me. Still, I ask the questions.

***

This month. We say goodbye to a family member. My grandma. “Mama”, we call her. The last of my Mom’s family. An ending. A storybook closed, it feels. My tears are few. Why? I wonder.

I imagine them–my Mom, her brother, her sister, their Mom and their Dad. I imagine them all. I imagine them in Heaven. I imagine them together. Healed. Without the pain of the world. Without the sickness of the world. Maybe this isn’t how it is. But, I hope it is.

Things are left unsaid.
I wonder, are things alway left unsaid?
I don’t want things to ever be left unsaid.

Years ago I heard a few words that stuck with me: “Death is a part of life.” I think Rob Bell said them. Surely, many have said them before. Many will say them after. The statement stings. I push it away. I resist it. Yet, I know it’s true.

There are times of grief.

Death is a part of life.



***


This month. The scenery has changed. What was brown is now green. Spring is showing off these days. Her leaves, her colors, her flowers, her beauty. I sit on my porch and take it in. I feel the breeze against my face. It’s warm now.

Spring is beautiful.



What is your favorite season? Meadow asks. I love them all, I say. The changing of the seasons. The changing is my favorite.

I read words in this book:

Seasons is a wise metaphor for the movement of life. . .It suggests that life is neither a battlefield nor a game of chance but something infinitely richer, more promising, more real. The notion that our lives are like the eternal cycle of the seasons does not deny the struggle or the joy, the loss or the gain, the darkness or the light, but encourages us to embrace it all–and find in all of it opportunities for growth.

I know this is truth. In nature, there are no eternal summers. Nor, are there in life.

I sit on the porch and I see new life of Spring all around me while, at the same time, in my body it feels like winter. As much as I resist it, I cannot change it. Resistance is fruitless. I wonder, what would happen if I embrace it? The winter? This season? What might I learn?

Certainly, there is much to learn.

For a moment, I take a breath. I embrace this season. This winter in the midst of Spring. For a moment I feel peace and contentment and even hope for how I might grow. For the treasures I will find here.

It lasts for a moment. . . perhaps tomorrow it will be two moments.

***

This month. An unexpected trip to the ER. An unexpected stay in the hospital. Doctors throwing words that are big and scary. Symptoms that don’t make sense. More questions than answers.

Weeks ago I was running a marathon, I tell them.
Healthy people get sick, they say.

I try to make jokes and make light. The doctors don’t laugh. I think I’m funny. Their faces are serious.

They talk about heart, arteries, blockages. I feel like screaming.

I return home without answers and the belief that all will be okay. I will keep an eye on it, I vow.

***

I hesitate to write any of this. My dad’s motto rings with truth: we don’t have problems, he often says.

Yes, this is true. There is not cancer or death or sick children. We are (mostly) healthy and quite happy.

Still, I’m learning that our stories are our stories. These trials are low hurdles that, in time, we will clear. In this moment, though, I honor the trial. I honor the season.

***
I crutch my way through the kitchen, a book in one hand, coffee in another. Chanelle jumps from her chair and rushes toward me.

Do you want help with that. It’s a statement, not a questions. She grabs my coffee and book and places them on the table where I am headed.

I hear this statement multiple times a day–do you want help with that? I hear it from Chad, Charlie, Chanelle, and Meadow.

Our kids have stepped in beside me. They have pitched in. Not a complaint. They have offered help. I have accepted.

That’s when I see it, glimpses of Spring in the midst of winter.


***
I’m crutching my way across a parking lot, rushing so to not be late for an appointment. I hear footsteps behind me, equally rushed. I scoot out of the way as an older gentleman rushes by me, reaches for the door and steps aside.

I know how frustrating those things are, he says as he looks toward the sticks in my hands. I’ve been there.

He holds the door open as I go in and he disappears back into his car. I am touched by his kindness.

I see it again, a glimpse of Spring in the midst of winter.

***
There is a knock on our door and I open it to find my mother in law standing there with a dish for dinner. She hands it off without a word and turns to go back home.

I am humbled. Grateful.

Spring in the midst of winter.

***

A friend calls to check in.
A friend puts on a winter coat and walks right beside me. Not rushing me into Spring, simply being with me in the Winter.
Another friend joins me on my front porch and looks out as Spring, while listening to the Winter.

I see it everywhere. Spring, in the midst of Winter.


***

In this moment it is clear: just as summer doesn’t last forever, nor does Winter.

Death is a part of life.
Winter is as vital as Summer.

***

The changing of the season is my favorite.



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