My sanctuary was cold and dark this morning. Fall’s arrival to me is bittersweet. I long for the break of hot, sticky days and constant watering to keep my plants alive. Tired of the mosquitoes and bugs that plague my space. Yet what was the coolest time of the day is now the coldest, and where I begged for the sun to be hidden by a cloud, I now long for it to burst forth and warm my face.
How things change within a short span of time. Life is in constant motion and I need to move right along with it, adjusting to its rhythm. I am saddened in the change of season. The flowers are preparing for their winter nap and the trees are starting to shed their summer attire. I find myself mourning at the thought of the clean up after the death of summer. I snuggle deeper in my required blanket this early morning as depression takes a stab at my soul. Yes change is happening and I don’t like it.
When I lived in Michigan, I remember going through the dark lonely winter, longing for spring. I remember when it seemed the sun would never shine again and the snow would never melt. I would stand at the window looking out on my gardens. Anticipating the smell of damp soil, to feel the warmth of the sun and to see new growth emerge. The one thing that brings a gardener joy is seeing tender baby shoots, pushing their way out of their hibernation. To witness such a miracle makes the struggle of winter worthwhile.
Of course this is a metaphor for life too, but yet I seem to forget that. I seem to think the sun is to shine everyday and nothing that I hold dear is to fade away. I become depressed with the changes in my life and want to snuggle under the blanket of self-pity. Yet I know that the seasons in life are to be expected. I don’t want to experience the bleak dark months, yet I must if I am to stay in rhythm with the world. I forget it is a cycle and I get stuck in the emotions of what I am losing. I complain and struggle through my dark times, lashing out at those around me. I want them to ease my discomfort as I push through the season. Then before I know it, the season has passed and new growth starts to appear.
I had to witness a struggle of a loved one this past week. I could see that she was growing weary. A beautiful young woman longing for a season of growth, yet not wanting to go through the dying phase in order to become what she needs to be. I know because of my years of seasons and rebirths that she can overcome this. I know because I have the knowledge of what is on the other side of this dark period. She can’t see it, not yet.
As I sit in my garden, a lone butterfly floats by as if to remind me of these seasons. I think about this weary young woman and realize that she is getting ready to go through her transformation, just like this butterfly had to go through to be able to fly with such grace. I wonder if the caterpillar felt anxious, as it started to spin its cocoon? How did it know when to start the process? Did it feel the extreme array of emotions that forced it to move into cocoon stage? Is this what she is going through? Fighting the emotions that are trying to force her through the next stage? The cocoon stage may look a lot like a prison to her. Or has she already gone through that stage and is now being forced into the struggle to come out of the cocoon?
I love this woman, I have since the first moment they laid her in my arms at her birth. A miracle. I want to save her from the pain of the struggle and to do whatever I can to make it easier for her. But I know that by doing so, I could do more damage than good. I can only remind her that she will have to trust the cycle of life – to trust God. I remind her of those in our lives that refused to push through and how they are stuck. I want her to fly. To feel the hope of it. I can see that this is not what she wants to hear, she wants me to make it easier or to give her directions. To open that cocoon for her so she can see. Both of us sit there together, staring at each other, exhausted from trying to understand. She leaves me in frustration of nothing being resolved and I am left with another day of waiting. This day was just one of those storms that shakes loose one season as another takes over. It might be one of many, only God knows. I must remember to keep moving with the rhythm of it all and look forward to witnessing the miracle of this woman turning into a butterfly.
It’s going to be a long winter……