A time to dance

13 09 2010

As a native Michigander, I know my seasons.  Summer is slowly giving way to fall.  The cider mills are open, the humidity of summer has made way for crisp, cool sweatshirt weather and glory of glories: the long-awaited college football season is finally here.  Of course, summer provides the perfect segue to fall.  My summer nights and weekends were spent climbing the sand dunes up north, paddle boarding on Lake Michigan and the Grand River, tanning on the beach, running with the team, playing softball and grilling out at home.  Spring is a season or growth: kind of a mixed bag of rain, wind, up-and-down temps and running outside in shorts again.

But eventually, winter rears its ugly head.  Serene, white mornings give way to gray-brown slushy streets, treacherous morning commutes and an added inch or so of muscle tone in my arms from digging out of the snow to even start that treacherous commute.  Last winter also marked my initiation into my local urgent care’s Frequent Faller program: the injury of the month for December was a strained back that rendered me immobile for three days (thanks, Yoga X), January was the month of the concussion (much love, snowboarding) and February was ankle injury awareness month (caused by the running tumble you may have read about here).

The fact that winter seems to have some sort of vendetta against me is fitting, considering “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiates 3:1).  The darker, ‘winter’ seasons: “a time to weep…a time to mourn…a time to be silent” are a very real part of life.  In the midst of each of the ‘winters’ in my life, those seasons have seemed long and cold and are often marked by struggles, challenges and pain, but every winter is followed by a period of growth: spring.  It’s the proverbial snow shoveling, sliding, slipping and falling – and getting back up – that ends up shaping us into the people we are and were ultimately meant to be.  You can’t have your favorite seasons with the winter.

Fortunately, like every season, winter is temporary and unlike the Michigan weather, I think we have a degree of control over the seasons in our lives.  For example, we can choose to stop one wintry day from snowballing into a drawn out winter.  We can choose to shovel snow joyfully and to anxiously await the promise of spring, summer and fall.  Still, there will be times when we can’t stop the winter storms, we can only bear down and dig ourselves out while holding onto the faith that this too will pass. 

Last weekend, when the Michigan Wolverines scored their first touchdown of the season, John broke into a celebratory dance that included a range of shakes, shimmies and his signature dance, “the rabbit tail,” as the grand finale.  It was indeed “a time to dance” and John was ready.  I have watched John go through winters of his own and I admire the grace with which he bundles up and digs himself out.  He is always the one who constantly reminds me that life flows in seasons and he encourages me not to let even the longest, bleakest winter get me down.  That’s important to remember, because if you stare at your snow shovel too long, you won’t notice when it’s stopped snowing. 

There truly is a time to dance, a time to laugh, a time to love – and I’m thankful to have been blessed with someone to dance with.  As I anticipate enjoying every aspect of my favorite season, I thank God for bringing me through each winter and blessing me with plenty of time to dance.  What are you looking forward to about the next season in your life? 

A beautiful summer/fall day on the Grand River. I took this pic after returning to retrieve my forgotten paddle from my SUP trip Labor Day weekend.

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