It’s barely a month into winter, but it has been a brutally harsh winter so far. Temperatures have been at or below freezing and… I’m cold.
At this point, I can’t wait for summer. I can’t wait to feel the warmth from the sun on my cheeks. I can’t wait for sun dresses, large brimmed hats, and sandals.
But I have to wait… much like I had to wait for brighter days after divorce.
Difficult times, especially divorce in my opinion, bring on a winter-type feeling into your life. Cold, barren, and lonely. Sometimes it seems like the winter, or the loneliness, will literally never end.
I remember it too well. As the minutes passed painfully slow, I wondered, How do I fast forward? How can I get back to the good stuff?
The other day at church, I heard an interesting fact about sequoia trees. Sequoia’s are the one of the largest, hardiest trees in the world. They never stop growing. They are resilient and sometimes can grow best after a harsh winter.
I haven’t personally seen a sequoia (it’s on the bucket list), but my mother brought back photos of her visit to the great sequoia trees. The tree she was photographed with was so massive, I couldn’t comprehend how it grew so large and must have endured so much.
It wasn’t until church the other day that the tree’s growth became practically tangible.
Sequoia trees can grow well even after a harsh winter.
As the message unfolded I felt like I was like a sequoia. Resilient, strong, adaptable to new conditions.
It was in the winter of my divorce that I experienced an intense period of pain, loneliness, cold, rejection, failure and sadness. There was no escaping it. No easy button. No way to fast forward to spring-like weather or avoid anger. I was trapped in it and I had two options…
-Collapse under the pain and remain in winter for even longer
-Handle the pain and release it
I have said before that all of this is easier said than done and, unfortunately, I have no road map. But I did make a conscious effort every day to face my pain, work through it, process it and move on to more positive things.
Day in and day out that was my method. Pushing myself to feel the anger, devastation, rejection. Forcing myself to try and understand the emotions and properly release them. I’d tell myself, you were a great wife and you just married the wrong husband. It’s okay. It’s not something you deserved and there is good in this. Good? Good in my pain? Hardly…. but then, I’d see my two pups looking at me with their perfect faces. I’d get a text from a loved one providing some encouraging words. I would take note of my full fridge, beautiful home and cute shoes.
After a few months, I didn’t have to make such a conscious effort to force a positive attitude.
I don’t think the sequoia tree makes a conscious effort to endure the winter so they can grow better come spring, they just do it. Unfortunately, we need to make a conscious effort to not only endure the winter, but gain something from it to use in the happier times in our lives.
My winter grew me in ways I never saw coming. It provided me with a new perspective on life and a refreshed thankfulness.
What has your winter done for you?