A storm of epic proportions entered upon my shore. It was fast, violent and mysterious. There was no way to prepare for it. All I could do was hunker down and see where it would go, what it would do and how it would change me in the process.
For weeks, for months, it was daunting. Grey was everywhere. I could not see behind all this fog. Calling it murk and mire doesn’t seem to give this storm enough credit; it was more than quicksand. It’s destruction and devastation was more then anything I have ever encountered before.
I’ve been in winter stormes before; I’d love to say I was exaggerating for sympathy. I’m used to learning how to endure storms and trials – God’s imbedded this into my DNA. I know winter always gives way – eventually. In fact, that is what this winter storm taught me – the truth of eventually. Winter can linger. It can hover. It can creep in without noticing and stay without asking. It can be the relatives we were introduced to in the Christmas classic, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Somehow, in the midst of these winters without compare, it manages to be “Always winter but never Christmas.” No one has ever described this feeling better then the amazing C.S. Lewis in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. There should be joy even in the middle of winter, yet storms come which make even the happy times unforgettable in ways we do not wish upon our enemies.
Eventually, this winter storm faded away to spring. However, when you have really bad winters, the springs are usually only laced with the hope that summer is coming. Nasty winters lead way to nasty springs where pockets of sunshine sporadically pop up only to be devoured by yet another cloud and storm.
It is daunting. Winter is hard – but in a way, winter is expected to be hard. Who actually wants to shovel snow? Who actually wants to scrape the ice off their windshield every morning? Not this guy, that’s for sure. I like to be able to frolic and play in my snow for the weekend and come back down to my pleasant, non snow covered society. But when winter gives way to a nasty spring – spring is harder then the winter ever could be. Knowing you are exiting the pain and suffering, but yet still realizing there is so much farther to go can be a difficult and frustrating experience.
Yet, eventually, the seasons change. Winter is forgotten. Spring is a memory. Am I in summer or did I manage to sneak past go and not collect my 200 Monopoly dollars? As the Preacher says in Ecclesiastes, there is a season for everything. For good and bad; for the times of seeing the good approaching and for the times of seeing the good give way to harbingers of bad. I don’t know if I’m going into fall – or if I’m going to be enjoying time on the beach with some mojitos in my hand. Eventually it all fades to something new.
Spring is definitely in it’s conclusion. I’m beginning to get the sense that wherever this next season comes from, I’m going to enjoy it greatly. It’s going to be different and beyond what I’ve been preparing for. I also know I would not be equipped for it without surviving the grueling winter and spring I endured.
The storms have cleared. The waves are no longer choppy. Smooth surf is returning.
Finally, at long last, I can see beyond the fog. I can see the vastness and beauty of the ocean before me. Storms give way to gorgeous sunsets and beautiful surf.
There is clarity from perseverance.
There is wisdom from despair.
There is life from death.
There is joy out of pain.
If you are faithful to endure.