We woke up this morning to the first snow of the season. The ground was blanketed with a dusting of white and the air was nippy. My husband groaned a little, “I’m not ready for winter,” he said, then caught himself, “but I guess it will come whether I’m ready or not.”
I stood for some time, admiring the way the snow followed the pattern of the tall grass, bending the stalks under its weight. Seasons change. Isn’t that just how life goes? No season lasts forever. And while a change of seasons may mean the death of one thing, it can also mean the birth of another.
While we were in Alaska this year, my husband and I were praying desperately that God would reveal to us what we are to do next. We have been pursuing adoption for some time, testing waters, looking for the child or children that God would have us raise. And our searching, our hopes that bloomed like summer’s glory, wilted with the autumn winds. And with their passing, the mother-heart within me faded too.
We flew around Alaska and ended up hiking across this moss-covered forest on Long Island (the Alaskan one). I was some distance behind my husband and our friend, Gene, and I slowed down just a touch. I was taking photographs of the fresh springs that bubbled up in the middle of the spruce trees and I finally found the ability to whisper brokenly, “God, I can’t keep doing this. I can’t keep loving and pouring into children, always hoping, always dreaming that someday one will be mine. I’m so tired, Lord. So, so tired.”
It was the harshest truth I knew. That I don’t have the fortitude to keep going. It takes more strength than you’d ever know, to mother other people’s babies. To only have snippets of time with them and then hurt for always because somehow, someway, they became a part of you but you don’t have the right to them.
I suppose one must harden. Become tougher.
But I never was good at that.
Still, I expected God to answer with a call to arms. A stirring up of my endurance. “Press on toward the goal,” I thought I’d hear Him say.
But He didn’t.
He whispered through the moss-covered branches, “You may rest.”
Oh, deep life-cleansing breaths. Oh, sweet peace at last.
I can rest. I can drink deep of stillness. I don’t have to fight. I need only be still. I need only breath deep and rest.
Winter can seem difficult. There are harsh realities. It’s cold outside. Freezing cold. Snow piles high. Days are short. Nights are long.
But it’s also a time of rest. There is only so much that can be done, only so much one should do.
During the summer it’s easy to work until the middle of the night, putting in the last of the hay crop, picking the last of the sweet peas, laying outside and counting the stars. But in winter when evening comes, one just curls up tight with warm blankets and books.
It it peaceful and calm and quiet.
I run a finger across the snow-crusted stack of wood, watching as the heat from my body melts the flakes. Seasons will come and go. And there is beauty to be found in every one, if we choose to embrace it.