All to this point.
A long time ago a good, wise friend offered me a seed of wisdom during a difficult time in my life. It was a dry season where I didn’t feel like I was growing or making progress. I felt stagnant and dormant on the inside.
Growing up in Jersey in a 100% Italian household, I was always pushed to make progress, to produce and succeed. I didn’t like sitting still let alone being unproductive. But now, in my twenties, I’d hit a place where I was stuck. No matter how much I revved my engine, the wheels just spun; I couldn’t get any traction.
“Perhaps you’re just in a personal winter,” he offered. “A what?” I asked. “A personal
winter,” he repeated. I was familiar with winter winters with snow and such, but not a
“personal winter”. Inside I did feel like the gray, cold Februarys I remembered. My friend went
on to explain that sometimes, in our lives just like in nature, we have natural rhythms where
there’s growth, plateauing, resting, and new life; Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring. A “personal
winter” would be a season where I needed to rest, just like trees do. This was a fascinating
concept I’d never heard before.
I chewed on his offering for quite some time. I was already doing all I knew to get unstuck,
but to no avail. A bit later, during a time of mediation, I recalled a very small section of the
Psalms, “The LORD gives rest to his beloved.” If any season of the year brings rest to creation
it’s winter. Perhaps my friend was right. Maybe I should take time to accept my condition and
rest instead of fighting the stagnation. Perhaps new growth and being productive weren’t too
far off. And, if I took some time to rest now, what energy could I have for later?
I share this, no matter what your faith or philosophy, because I think it’s a universal
principle and that you might solace when you find yourself or another at a standstill. Maybe
you’re in a “personal winter” where rest, recuperation, and the storing of energy – much like
the flora in eastern Pennsylvania are doing now – for a coming time of growth and productivity?
But how long would this personal winter last?
I’ve found these personal winters vary in length; sometimes a week or a few months.
Although they’re not my favorite season, I’ve come to embrace them in my life. As I’ve gotten
older, I’m more accepting of the rhythms of my life, both personal and in nature, as each comes
with it’s own gifts and blessings.
PS: I’m taking time each week to pray for all of you. May you be blessed. You are valuable!
Rev. Peter Keady, CC, CCISM
Chaplain, Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley
“How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!” – Thomas Wentworth Higginson