remembering in the winter

Here in Orem, Utah the first snow of the year is on the ground.  It’s always so beautiful and daunting at the same time. The snow always seems to come too early. It sneaks its way onto the ground piercing the darkest hours of the night when all the sleeping are oblivious. They went to bed smiling while thinking about how much they were enjoying the fall only to wake up to see fall squeezed out all together. Snow is tricky and rude like that. Its like the supermodel of weather. Nobody really wants it around with its cruel personality but they can’t help but admire it for the beauty it brings to the table.

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In response to yesterday’s post I received a text last night.  A stranger was thanking me for encouraging words during a hard week. It made me feel so happy. I felt like I made a difference for one person. I ask for no more than that. All I want to do is help people be happy. All I want to do is be happy. Such a small moment made me so proud and grateful. I felt as if I was fulfilling one mission in my life: spread hope.

I have been pondering about happiness this morning. I’ve been thinking about the winters of my life.  When I was in the middle of the winters I wasn’t grateful for them. In fact I felt robbed. I felt abandoned by God. I felt hurt by perpetrators around me. I felt disappointed in myself. I was freezing and buried deep in snow. I felt like I would never live to spring.

The day I was diagnosed as Bi-Polar Type II sticks out as one of the harshest winters. I never wanted to be crazy. I felt totally cheated. What had I ever done to deserve such a cruel label? God must not have loved me. The time we lost our home in TN? That wasn’t fun. Receiving the news that my hubby didn’t pass the bar the first time was a big blow that seems totally minuscule now. One time in eighth grade a really cruel kid humiliated me for five minutes straight while my classmates all looked on and did nothing. He berated me calling me fat and ugly and worthless and everyone just stared as I tried to hold back tears. There was a day that I walked in on my ASB advisor to hear him bad-mouthing my family. The day I gave birth to Caroline I was fondled by the doctor who would later deliver my baby. While in labor, I cried and cried to my husband and mother-in-law who had been forced to leave the room right before the instance occurred. I was violated but I didn’t know what to do about it. Neither did they – that’s why we let the perpetrator deliver my daughter.

I’ve had extreme poverty as a child and as a mother of children. I’ve had difficult marital issues. I’ve lived three years of my life when both my hubby and I depended on one car to get us from work to school…that car was in the shop at least on a monthly basis. I’ve had health issues…pancreatitis, pluracy, gall bladder issues, club feet, and a chopped off toe. I served a mission for my church for eighteen months with nothing but a suitcase full of clothes that I bought myself at the thrift store. I’ve struggled with resentment that no one helped me understand earlier in life that graduating from college was something I could do.  I’ve had excessive pride, envy, and impatience.

Losing multiple family members and friends too early is when I might have been the coldest. I’ve suffered with four miscarriages and infertility. I’ve also suffered from the decision my hubby and I made to start our family earlier than I would have preferred because that is what we knew God wanted for us. It was very hard to raise three children for the ten years while my hubby was in college. Finding out that a most trusted loved one had been untrustworthy – that winter lasted about ten years. There have been plenty of struggles with friends. I’ve had dark depression and have also been so manic that I did and said really stupid things.  I’ve been engulfed in the chains of codependency wondering why people couldn’t even try to make me happy. I have hurt people. I have hurt myself. I have wallowed in pity. I have felt totally hopeless and in complete despair.

I’ve had a lot of winter in my life, but I’ve had more summer, spring, and fall. I appreciate the warmer seasons but I am most grateful for the winters…they’ve made me a permanently worn warm woolen coat. Without my winters, I wouldn’t be so resilient. I also couldn’t help other people experiencing their own below freezing temperatures. I’ve found nothing more sweet and full of sunshine in this life then first helping myself to overcome and second being a beacon for others.

While pondering about winters this morning I came across this video below.
It’s a beautiful reminder that if we just courageously stand up to our winters,
we each have a moment of sure summer joy to claim for our own.

I’ve always loved this song by Bette Midler.

“The Rose”

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you its only seed.

It’s the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It’s the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.
It’s the one who won’t be taken,
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dyin’
That never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose.

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