Winter thoughts

The first month of 2020 ends, and maybe we feel a little let down because we haven’t moved into the infant year like we intended. Typically we expect January 1 to offer hope and opportunity. For some it does. For others, it is the same old routine, the same hurts, the same struggles, following us into the next thirty days.

I recall years, attested in my journals, when January 1 was exactly like December 31, me wondering if I had the strength to persevere. How often I prayed, “O God of new beginnings and fresh starts, it’s me again.” 

Still, I am a fan of new months and weeks, a brand new day, a new adventure. There is expectancy in an unfolding promise.

The grey days of winter have worn a bit thin. I eagerly awaited the first glow of dawn. I noticed blue sky breaking through clouds and looked for sunsets.

I lit candles early morning waiting for darkness to vanish. I turned on lamps throughout the house to brighten the atmosphere as evening descended.

Already I weary of a winter without one really good snow. I tried to notice the lengthening days, incremental though they are, anticipating spring, warmth, and sunshine. I hoped the purple crocuses beside the front walk would surprise me one day.

I hosted a bridal tea party in January, celebrating the freshness of two lives soon to become one. This young couple met at our house one evening at Bible study, and it’s a story I love to tell. In just a few weeks they will vow their forever covenant of love.

I pulled out the pretty dishes, platters and cake plates hidden in closets and cupboards, dusty from non use. Preparation for the event reminded me of days when the grand girls were young children and welcomed any excuse for a tea party. They disappeared into the back bedroom where the box of dress-up clothes were stored and emerged like butterflies. They picked out tea cups from my collection. We spread the table with cheese and crackers, store bought cookies, hot cocoa, or whatever was handy. It wasn’t about the food, it was about the event of a tea party, of being together and enjoying the experience.

I began listening to the Daily Audio Bible with Brian Hardin, joining my cousin to journey through the Bible in a year. I enjoy the daily interchange as Brian expressively reads and I hear something new in old familiar stories. It is a spiritual discipline enriching my life.

I spent time with friends this month. Some are suffering in different ways. It presses hard on them as they walk paths not of their choosing. My heart aches for people I love. I want to ease their pain. I know I cannot. My only offering is a gift of time, a listening ear without judgment, and prayers for the awareness of the the God of all comfort. 

January 2020 is a memory, and in a way I don’t understand, it seemed slow, unlike my usual fleeting days, me barely aware until the months’ end appears on my planner. But not this month.

I’m pondering what made the difference. I said “no” to a couple of opportunities, trying to listen to my heart and set boundaries for myself, a skill I’m not very good at. I made and effort to work on projects, reckoning with my time and energy.

February begins, offering another new month, another opportunity, a promise unfolding. I want to live it well.

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