In my world, spring is the most glorious season of all. I mean, you’ve got the warmer weather and pretty budding trees and flowers and grasses and pollen… oh Mylanta the pollen…
Spring is particularly glorious for those of us parents who have been cooped up indoors with our children for the last 3 months of dreaded winter. Cabin fever is a very real thing, and it is even realer (pretty sure that’s not a word) for small children. Hats off to all you cold-weather-loving parents who bundle your kiddos up and go outside to play in the snow, but that’s big time not me. Yeah, we go out in the snow when it falls – which is rare here in Tennessee – but I get so frustrated every time because we spend 45 minutes finding and adorning 3 layers of clothes, removing and re-adorning said clothes 5 times after 5 sudden potty emergencies, searching for those blasted boots, crying that the boots are too tight with extra socks, and fighting over who gets to wear which toboggan before we finally make it out the door. Then the kids play for an hour on a good day – 10 minutes on a normal day – before coming in, wet and freezing, refusing to take warm baths because they’re too cold to undress (because preschooler logic is so very logical??), and resuming the either excessive blanket-fort movie-watching or running-and-screaming-indoors-like-it-is-outdoors that we would have been doing from the beginning anyway.
The coming of spring is like the dramatic breakthrough of dawn, when the darkness and cold of winter is overcome by the beautiful force of sunlight. I have Relient K’s “High of 75” stuck in my head literally all season. Because to me, winter is a season of cold, bleakness, and depression.
But the truth is, we need it.
Winter isn’t the season of death it can feel like to us haters. Winter is a season of rest. After all the growth and production and change and development of spring, summer, and fall, winter is when everything goes into hibernation mode and just chills for a bit. No visible growth, no work to keep up with, just rest.
Are you needing rest?
In Biblical terms, we call that a Sabbath. Once a week, God commands the Israelites to observe a day of rest in recognition of God resting on the seventh day of creation. (We’ll save the creationism discussion for another day.) Taking a day off once a week is something we can all wrap our heads around. But I’m talking longer-term than that. In addition to the weekly Sabbath recognition, God also creates this Sabbatical Year. That’s – you guessed it – a whole year of rest.
“While Moses was on Mount Sinai, the Lord said to him, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you have entered the land I am giving you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath rest before the Lord every seventh year. 3 For six years you may plant your fields and prune your vineyards and harvest your crops, 4 but during the seventh year the land must have a Sabbath year of complete rest. It is the Lord’s Sabbath. Do not plant your fields or prune your vineyards during that year. 5 And don’t store away the crops that grow on their own or gather the grapes from your unpruned vines. The land must have a year of complete rest.”
If that seems extreme to you, consider this. the concept of fallow lands – that is, allowing soil to rest by not planting crops for an extended period of time – is an ancient practice backed up by modern science. The earth actually needs this break in order to regenerate sufficient nutrients to sustain a healthy crop in the future. Depleting the soil means future crops will suffer.
Are you feeling depleted?
Winter and Sabbath seasons are necessary for the health of the earth. These seasons of rest are needed for the health of our souls.
The other day I pulled out my resumé to update my profile for a freelance writing website. (I don’t have any offers, in case you were wondering.) It was so depressing. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since just before my 3rd child was born, so it’s been a while since I looked at it. The frustrating part was looking at those dates of my last employment and thinking, Why would anyone hire me when I haven’t done anything in 4 years?
Here’s the thing about winter: even when it seems bleak and desolate, important work is being done. The rest is important work. Plants are storing energy and nutrients they will need for spring production; sabbatical soil is being chemically rejuvenated; my soul is finding meaning in the mundane and investing in the future harvest that I won’t reap for years to come. This season of rest is not dead, it is preparation for the spring.
If you’re feeling depleted and in need of rest, don’t despise the changing of the seasons. And if you’re like me, feeling stuck and a little useless (or, at least that bachelor’s degree I’m still paying for feels useless…), remember that the seasons change. And the down time is needed for the spring time to come.
Your season is coming.
And because I couldn’t make mention of Relient K without giving you an embedded video…