There is little outward evidence of springtime’s earliest moments of awakening. Bleak colors of spent foliage cover the ground, as frosty fingers of winter’s last winds grip the landscape in a mighty last ditch effort to preserve its reign. During this end-season, most of nature remains silent. Hunkered down. Awaiting subtle cues for a grand entrance into a brand new era. Even the sun refuses to poke its head out, for long periods of time, during the dreary transitional hours between the desolation of winter and springtime birth. The broad view would suggest that there is no beauty amidst the bleak. It would require a closer look, an intentional search, to find the secret surprise that lies hidden under the grim appearance of the last hurrah by nature’s harshest season. Underneath layers of last year’s memory lies a hidden, vibrant world of new promise.
I was reminded of that fact, while briskly walking from my car toward the warm sanctuary of my home. The wind was brutal. Cold and miserable, and I could hardly wait to be out of the harsh environment, snuggled into my favorite chair, wrapped up in a thick, fuzzy throw, sipping my favorite cup of java. As I crossed the crusted lawn, something caught my eye. I thought I saw the teeniest bit of blue in the crunchy sea of brown. Clasping my coat tightly against my neck, I knelt down for a closer look. As I brushed aside the top layers of the old growth, I saw a stunning layer of new life…a hidden world of lush undergrowth, resplendent with hundreds of tiny blue blossoms. It was a perfectly kept secret, by the barren landscape, which would have remained as such had I not paused for a closer look.
Without prior knowledge of the pattern of seasons, it would be easy for us to throw up our hands in despair, during those bleak days of winter, thinking that there might never again be color, and warmth and beauty in our world. We might be tempted to deeply burrow ourselves behind closed shutters, never thinking to peek out (with delighted expectation) for the promise of rebirth. Eventually, hopeful plans would give way to utter despair, and we would miss the miracle of a new season that lay just outside our shuttered world.
Often, when we find ourselves in a difficult and unfamiliar season of life, the overarching view can seem unrelentingly bleak. Wistful memories of prior seasons of succulence, which are now lost to us, can overshadow all else. We are unable to see the lush, developing world of new possibility that rests underneath the surface. It is easy to allow the frosty fingers of despair to curl themselves around all hope, strangling potential for new life. Expectant plans can be rendered mute, left to languish in the bleak, missing the promise of beauty just beyond.
What we choose to believe is what we ultimately find. If our minds are focused on what we’ve lost, or on the immensity of a given problem, we move briskly past, unaware of the bits of vibrant color that point us in the direction of our best outcome. If hopeless belief is what fills our thoughts, there will be no room to explore potential solutions.
Life can (and does) throw us unexpected, bleak seasons. It is essential to remember that it is only a season. Keeping eyes wide open for the beauty amidst the bleak will help us maintain a mindset that allows successful navigation through the difficult times, with full expectation of the dawn of a brand new day.
Whatever your struggle may be, there is hope. There are answers. There is a beautiful new season of possibility, developing quietly, just below the crust of difficulty. Look beyond the harshness, into the beauty of that truth, my friends. What you seek, you will find.
Never give up!
I have lived through many bleak seasons. One of the most difficult was my struggle with debilitating chronic illness, caused by toxic mold exposure. A new season of renewed health has dawned for me. Your new season awaits! If you would like to read more about my experience, please see: