"The inability to open up to hope blocks trust, and blocked trust is the
reason for blighted dreams.”- Elizabeth Gilbert
I cannot tell a lie! Old Man Winter I have officially had it with you! I had one last nerve and you got on it today big time! After shoveling my driveway three times and not being able to feel my face, I lost it. I actually started crying. My puzzled and very concerned kids were very sympathetic to their dear old mom, yet I am sure they were wondering what was going on here? I assured them it was just me being sick of winter and today it was really getting to me!
This is the longest, most severe winter we have had for quite some time here in
Leamington, Ontario and quite frankly we have all had ENOUGH! It is reassuring to see that the calendar is now reading “March,” so it will not be long now that the sun will indeed shine again! There is a light at the end of this very snowy and white tunnel as dim as it may seem at present!
A cute book called Moe the Dog In Tropical Paradise by Diane Stanley makes a great connection to the way we are all feeling these days. It was an incredible find at a school book fair for the very low price of $3.00 and students love its very funny storyline. Moe is so sick of winter and wants to go on a vacation, but unfortunately can’t afford it. Instead he creates his own “tropical paradise,” at his house complete with calypso music, beach sand, lounge chairs and beautiful painted tropical sunsets to lift the spirits of both himself and his best friend. He made the best of an unpleasant situation and in the process by using a little creativity, gave himself a much needed break from the everyday drudgery of a harsh winter. Sound familiar? My students are feeling it too. No longer are they so excited to play in the snow, and eager for recess. I see them dragging their feet to put on all their gear, and they are certainly less enthused then normal to have some nice, free time. I assured them last week that it won’t be long now and all they will have to grab for recess will be a light jacket and maybe a skipping rope! Oh I can’t wait!
Life has a way of handing us both good and bad days, but it is what we make
of it all and how we handle the down times that reflect our true character. My
daughter and I are in an upcoming production of the musical Annie in our little
town of Leamington. One of my favourite songs from this play is "Tomorrow." In the song the lyrics say “The sun will come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar,
there’ll be sun! Just thinking about tomorrow, clears away the cobwebs and the
sorrow! ‘Til there’s none! When I’m stuck with a day that’s grey and lonely, I
just lift up my chin, and grin and say… The sun will come out tomorrow!” A great
song for me to apply to how I am feeling today. My mom always says on some of my hardest days “There’s better days ahead!” Just knowing that this is true is very
helpful because we all need encouragement and hope to keep us going.
Sometimes we may be working so hard at something, but not see results right
away. It could be with job related tasks, or finances, family matters or fitness
goals. The list goes on and on. Knowing that with hard work and patience we will
eventually see better days and results is something we all have to remind
ourselves to stay motivated. Sometimes when we least expect it, a breakthrough
will come. I remember when I wanted to get a job so badly after I graduated with
a social work degree. There were not many prospects at that time, and most
places were looking for volunteers. I ended up getting a job with the Salvation
Army in Windsor based on a tiny little ad I barely saw in the paper. The job taught me so much and has laid a strong foundation for learning how to effectively help
people in crisis and offer them hope.
Everyone needs hope. Without it we are wandering aimlessly without purpose and
with no end in sight to our current negative situations. One of my clients years
ago had a hard time sharing her personal story of struggle. She had been through
so much in her short life she found trusting people very difficult. I remember
one day she said “I want to tell you so much about myself, but I don’t know
what you will do if I do. I feel so hopeless and I am afraid if I really open
up, you will basically say you have heard enough and there’s the door!” I am
happy to say that trust was built between myself and this individual slowly and
as her story very carefully and cautiously unfolded, I think she was surprised
at my reaction. She waited and I smiled thanking her for trusting me enough to
share her most private and precious aspects of her life with me. I assured her
that I was here as long as she needed me and I would see her next week. I think
it really shocked her to have that reaction, but I am so glad because I saw real
growth in this individual and her overall recovery journey. Hope is a wonderful
thing. It illuminates the dark corridors of the soul. It tells us that things
can and will get better and reminds us we just need to hold on a little
Maybe you are struggling with winter like me, or maybe your concerns go much,
much deeper. The Bible says “cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.”
Putting our heart’s cry into prayers can be a very effective way of dealing with
our heavy burdens. We no longer feel we are carrying them on our own, but instead have assistance from our Heavenly father. Just like the poem “Footprints,” when there is only one set of footprints during life’s hardest times, we are not alone, but rather are being carried by an awesome and loving God.
Don’t give up. Don’t despair. I am in your corner and I am routing for you!
Whatever your concerns are, stay hopeful as it will enhance your spirits. If
like me you are struggling with winter, remember this white wilderness will soon
pass and we will overcome! In the meantime, enjoy a coffee, some nice family
time, a good nap or some other form of pampering you enjoy to lift your spirits.
You won’t have to shovel for too much longer and just think before you know it,
it will be grass cutting season!
Until next time,
1 Peter: 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on Him; for He cares for you.
Little Lesson Learned: Hope is a wonderful thing we all need and desire.
Remember to speak life into people who are discouraged. You can provide exactly
what they need to "keep on keeping on!"
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