There’s lots of talk about seasons right now. As summer slowly gives way to autumn, which will then fade to winter.
Whether you’re on the side that’s holding onto every ray of warmth from the sunshine,
or you’re searching every tree and bush for signs of color change,
or you’re watching the forecast for that first snowfall (we already saw a little here, by the way), we all tend to think of seasons with anticipation…or dread.
I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to do this summer, and little (no) chance it’s going to happen in the one week of summer remaining. It’s been a good summer, but a busy one. We’ve crammed in a lot. I’m behind—on work at the office…on organizing rooms (from moving to a new house in the spring)…on projects that need completing (at the cabin)…on blogs I follow (which I really want to because they’re really good)…on posts that need published (they need to be finished first)…on probably other things I’m not even thinking about right now. And whether I’m ready or not, seasons are gonna happen.
I wonder, do we meet the seasons of life the same way? With anticipation or dread.
Remember that whole piece about transitions? (tran·si·tion) One of those transitions apparently led me into another season. Overwhelming weights of emotion have come over me indiscriminately. From sadness, pain and tears to contentedness, joy and smiles. I have been prompted to write things down. But when I took a pen (or keyboard) in hand, words wouldn’t come. In fact, the emotion wouldn’t come. Oh, it was there. I could feel its weight, but it was locked up. It was exhausting…and wearisome. That didn’t stop the season from arriving.
Lots of people think about “spring cleaning.” But I think it’s time for some “readying for winter” and getting rid of things I no longer need.
Recently I took an inventory of what’s under all those indiscriminate emotions. It was kind of like trying to muck stalls in the winter, breaking off frozen pieces and chunks to get to the bottom ground. Sometimes you get through a little bit at a time and sometimes a bigger amount is dug up. But no matter how it’s exposed, it feels good to clear out the mess. And here’s what I learned when I “mucked the stall.”
Loss = pain. It can show up in different ways, and a lot of times it has to be put on hold to get through the requirements of the day. Inside you wonder, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I pull it together? Why can’t I just be satisfied and happy?” And you place expectations on yourself…and guilt. It’s a lonely place, and you start to feel like things just don’t matter…you don’t matter. Built up over time, the pain gets heavy, and eventually you learn to just do what it takes to get through the days, go through the motions.
This is where I found myself. This is when I had to start “mucking the stall.” Ugh!
A part of my heart was gone; it had been ripped apart, and I didn’t know how I would ever get it back. I had to acknowledge and even list the losses, the assaults on my heart…the horses, the dog, relationships, my dad, activities I could no longer participate in (health), time, finances, and even some things from years back that I’d buried because “suck it up buttercup, it’s the way life is and no one cares about your hurt and there are lots worse things in the world anyway.” This meant not just seeing the positive parts of losses, but truly admitting how much they hurt and allowing myself to feel the pain. To admit that no matter the good side of things, loss stinks! And loss must be grieved, no matter what the details around it. But grief is hard, and sometimes you don’t know how grief is supposed to look or happen. I wish there was a specific, guaranteed formula… “Use Grief-A-Way today–release your pain and heal your heart!” There isn’t. Always, grief takes time.
Grieving has helped me get rid of some things I needed to clear out, but I’m not quite ready for winter yet, and I’m doing a little more clearing out. And so, this is a season of dread…and anticipation. I dread the work needed to finish mucking the stall, but I’m anticipating the release from pain and sadness and getting back to the full me I know I am.
I still miss the things I’ve lost…the horses…and the dog…and my dad. Grief is like that…it doesn’t let us forget. But going through it allows us to remember differently, with joyful sadness instead of paralyzing pain.