I often travel in spring.
At first I did it out of necessity, because the break between March and June was the longest we had as students. Then, as I fell deeper in wanderlust, I learned that those months were the best time to travel around Europe. The air still carried with it a certain chill, yet the sun burned bright into the night, allowing me to walk around even after closing hours. By then, nature would have shaken off the last of the winter frost and would bloom with color and life. I got the longer days without the mega crowds and price hikes of summer. Perfect.
The closest to winter I’ve experienced was when I was sent to Germany for training in November. I remember borrowing coats, thermals, and gloves—anything that could keep me warm in temperatures that we didn’t get in Manila with air conditioning. My colleague and I walked around all bundled up, ducking into cafes when it got too cold. I got sick after that first day. I woke up with the world spinning around me, the slightest movement making me groan.
I bounced back in time for our training and made it through two other sightseeing trips. While I enjoyed exploring the Christmas market in Hamburg, I remember feeling weighed down by my layers of clothes. We visited Berlin’s Topography of Terror at four in the afternoon and saw the moon floating in the sky. Days were short and cold, and they tempted me to stay indoors with a warm cup of coffee.
So though I dream of experiencing the first fall of snow and leaving marks like angels in the ground, I have to admit I’m quite wary of winter. Ironically, I traveled to Europe last spring, and now I find myself stuck in winter here in the tropical land I call home.
No, it hasn’t been snowing. Still, I feel the signs of winter all the same. It’s there in the shorter days and the evening chill, but more especially within me. Everything feels dialed down. Muted. It seems that as the temperature drops, so do other things—my energy, my productivity, my drive. Few things sound better than simply tucking myself in bed and letting the season pass me by.
During our final prayer meeting for the year, we talked about winter as one of the seasons of our lives. How the darkness of our circumstances makes it easy for us to lose our sense of direction and purpose. How our inner light grows dim, and we seem to stall.
The talk couldn’t have hit closer to home. I’ve known for a while that this isn’t the best period in my life. As I approach the big 3-0, I feel the need to catch up with everyone else but lack the will to do so. My heart feels heavy with anxiety, and my dreams seem so far away. Sometimes, I wonder if they’re still there at all.
In my notes, I wrote, Stay the course. Spring always follows winter. It may be delayed, but it is sure to come. Learn to wait for God’s perfect time.
It always comes down to that, doesn’t it? Waiting. That has always come hard to me, whether I’m waiting in line or waiting for a big moment to happen. It’s even harder when I wait for bad things to pass. Yet when I think of the things I had to wait for, I realize that they do come. And when they do, their value feels greater for my having waited for them.
A friend of mine told me how excited she was for the things that would unfold in my life. As surely as a seed takes root and breaks through the frost, so too will my struggles bear fruit. For now, I continue to put one foot in front of the other and journey on, no matter how thick the snow or dark the road. I’ll travel at my own pace, keeping faith that God’s plans for me are so much better than any itinerary I could make.
And one day, I’ll wake up and realize that spring has come.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 (NABRE)
No One Can Determine the Right Time to Act
There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit have workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to mortals to be busied about. God has made everything appropriate to its time, but has put the timeless into their hearts so they cannot find out, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.
Featured photo by Larisa-K via Pixabay