As the white blankets begin to thin under the warmth of a nearing sun, and the green pushes up through the soil—once believed never to return—we often feel our hearts, wrapped so tightly in woolen scarves, begin to thaw as well. And before we know it, we’re in the sweltering heat of summer, with flowers blooming, and trees filled again, green with new life.
After a long winter, it is in the summer sun that I begin to feel my soul come out of hiding, alive again. Excitement afresh; a life of color unfurled before my eyes; a picture of life renewed.
I do believe, however, that it’s in these particular seasons of nature’s-life-returning that it becomes hardest when we do not feel a sense of abiding joy despite the beautiful weather and the tan(ner) skin. I often feel the unnecessary weight of an ungrateful guilt when it seems as though the people in and around my life—stranger or not—are out making things of themselves. Whether it be: cooking intricate meals, spending time with friends, exercising, reading a stack of six books, vacationing, dating, crafting, etc.; and I’m stuck sad again, or unmotivated again, or alone again, or grieving still, or tired still, or uninvited once more.
Have you ever been there? Feeling like life is moving around you, in the lives of the people around you, and you’re stuck—tired of feeling hurt and forgotten and left behind and misunderstood, just trying to pick up the pieces?
This post is for you.
While it feels as though they sit center stage, there is no place for guilt here. There is no place for shame. Just because you’re fill-in-the-blank (a Christian, blessed, healthy, without want), doesn’t mean that life always has a silver lining, and it doesn’t mean you have to plaster a smile on (even if the sun is out). Our anthem must be freedom. Freedom to feel disappointment, freedom to feel let down, freedom to feel the sting of what-should-have-been slip away, freedom to feel the lows.
Most of all, I pray we give ourselves the freedom to go to the depths and bring along a strong-swimming friend, who will slowly help you to emerge from down under for breath; to fill your lungs again. And when you take that deep breath, I pray it feels as though you’re sipping sunshine, remembering that whether you went to the depths with a courageous human companion or all by yourself, you had an abiding Father all the while, Who is not unacquainted with grief, Who will bind up your broken heart, Who covers you with the robe of righteousness, Who keeps count of your tossings, and holds your every tear in His bottle. May His abounding grace be worn as a reminder of joy to come.
But until then, there is permission to feel what you’re feeling, for if you refuse to, you, too, will refuse the warmth of His healing.