The calendar said it was the first day of summer. But when I looked out the window, it was cloudy, raining, and the thermometer read 43 degrees. I guess mother nature did not get the memo. For many of us here in Colorado, this year, it has felt as though mother nature has missed the memo more than once. “I thought winter was over!? I thought this season was over!?” has come out of my mouth on several occasions. And until recently, I was unaware that the thoughts I was feeling about the outer weather were the same thoughts I was feeling about my internal weather.
This is Just a Season
There is a phrase I’ve heard often and I myself have used it. It’s the phrase, “this is just a season.” When I became aware of the similarities in my feelings towards the Colorado weather and my internal weather, I began to feel an unsettling in my spirit. “This is just a season,” has become an easy and convenient way to justify chaos and to minimize pain and heartache. It has become a programmed response to avoid pausing and accessing the heart. I’ve found this to be especially true in the areas of kids and hardships. So I’m throwing the flag. I’m challenging the phrase, “this is just a season.”
I am grateful and honored to have three beautiful children call me mom. With that honor comes a lot of busy. A lot of needs. And yes, a lot of wants. Activities and appointments. Food and clothing. Cleaning and more cleaning. Add in an education and the day is full. In the month of May, I was barely holding on. But as I looked around, I realized I was not alone. I observed several moms with forced smiles and heard the infamous phrase, “oh this is just a season,” as family dinners becoming an eat-on-the-go meal were discussed and date nights with the husband were becoming a 30 second chat at the high five handoff.
With the loss of my mom to cancer three years ago, I unknowingly placed a banner of “this is just a season” over my grief. And in placing that banner, I also placed a timeline. Although my head knowledge knew there is no timeline on grief, I wanted to know there would be an end to the pain…even if that meant I would go into survival mode and place a lid over my heart to contain my emotions. As a new wave of grief hit me surrounding my birthday and mother’s day this year, I was caught off guard. I thought this season was over. I felt in some way I had failed. And even more unexpected was receiving the news of another family member having an aggressive cancer diagnosis. The internal rage of, “I thought the season was over!” has taken a whole new meaning.
“This Is Just a Season” Box
When I choose to place things, events, feelings, into the box titled “this is just a season,” I’m establishing a timeline. I’m creating an excuse. I’m justifying my choices.
- The kitchen table empty at dinner time . . . it’s just a busy season.
- No physical activity to care for my body . . . it’s just a busy season.
- Weeks with no date nights or uninterrupted conversations with my husband . . . it’s just a busy season.
- It’s been a year since I lost my mom . . . this hard season should be over.
- I’ve been seeing my counselor for over a year now . . . I should be over this hard season.
- My husband has been home from his deployment for awhile now . . . we should be over this hard season.
I want to become curious about a new lens through which to view things, events, and feelings. What if rather than resting on the excuse “this is just a season,” I became curious about the journey? I became curious about the space surrounding me and allowed myself to sit with my thoughts and feelings?
- Do I need to establish new boundaries and re-evaluate the priorities for myself and for my family?
- Could I practice saying “no” and take something off of my plate?
- Is there a way to rearrange my day, my week, my month, to provide opportunities for myself and my family to breathe, rest, and access each of our hearts?
- Could I practice extending grace to myself when emotions rise in my heart and grant myself permission to feel?
A Journey, Not a Season
A few days following the first official day of summer, the sun shown brightly over my dad’s large back yard. As I began to tend to a few weeds, my breath was caught as I noticed roses blooming at every turn. Roses that in both my dad’s and my memories never existed. As I continued working, I began to ponder if in the creation of the word “seasons” it was ever meant to have a timeline. If it was ever meant to be placed in a box. Because the journey of the weather over the past year has produced some glorious and majestic beauty. A beauty that would not have bloomed had Colorado not experienced fires, droughts, and an abundance of snow throughout its recent journey.
“This is just a season.” Let’s release this phrase. Let’s cut up the timelines, the excuses, the justification, and let’s embrace a journey. A journey where we move at the pace the Father has for us. A journey that takes us through valleys and peaks. And when we find ourselves in a valley that is eerily familiar, let’s allow it to be an opportunity to deepen our level of growth, of love, of healing, and further deepen the roots into the truth of who we are. Glorious. Beautiful. Chosen. God’s favorite masterpiece.