Disappointments are a part of life. Sometimes when we want something so badly, all we can do is watch it slip away. When things don’t go according to plan or the outcome isn’t what we had hoped for, we’re often left wondering why. Disappointments happen, but it’s how we respond to them that really matters. We need to remember those disappointments do not define us; they are not a measure of our worth.
With the upcoming winter storm Jonas headed this way, many people are preparing for bitter cold temperatures and endless piles of snow. Gusty winds, downed power lines, and hazardous road conditions are all synonymous with a storm like Jonas. It’s just part of the winter season. Winter is the time of year when temperatures are at their coldest, and the outer world is at its darkest. “Snowbirds” flee the frigid cold, heading south for warmer weather. The mere mention of the word “winter” makes them shudder. Perhaps many of us don’t see the value of winter in our lives. Perhaps it’s just a series of long storms we have to weather. But winter does have value – it has lessons to teach us. It’s the time of year when we turn inward to listen and reflect – to make sense of who we are and why we’re here.
This week the dreaded day finally came – the day I actually decided to take action. It was time to stop procrastinating as I had been doing for months (years, really), and clean out my attic. Now, some of you may wonder why I chose January to start this project. With the lowest temperatures of the season in the Northeast and an attic that is uninsulated, I wondered the same thing. In fact, when I opened the attic door and felt the frigid air on my bare skin, I almost completely abandoned the idea. But then it struck me. If I didn’t grasp this opportunity to clean out my attic while I was motivated, another year or two might pass before the job got done. And by then, the piles would be even higher. I couldn’t let the time of year deter me. I had to follow through. It was time to get it done.
Earlier this week, I gazed out my window at the delicate snowflakes falling gently from the sky. They whirled through the air, constantly in motion until finally they settled softly upon the earth. Watching them for a few moments, I realized it had been a long time since I had stared at snowflakes. Yet, somehow I was mesmerized. The soft, white crystals emerged in every size and shape, each one as unique as the last. Carefree, they floated up and down – swirling in the wind. With their gentle movements, the snowflakes looked as though they were dancing. So, what made them so beautiful? What captivated my attention? Perhaps it was their simple nature that struck me. Small snowflakes twirling through the air, delicate and free – that was their simple beauty.
All of us experience new beginnings throughout our lives, but those beginnings are not all the same. Some of those beginnings might include starting school, passing our driver’s test, going to college, moving to a new town, starting a new job, getting married, having children, losing our job, moving far away from our family and friends, and/or losing someone we love. Each of these qualifies as a new beginning and whether or not we’ve experienced them, we know that some beginnings are exciting while others are downright terrifying. Many are filled with promise, but also uncertainty. Change is not easy. We wonder if we are going down the right path. Will it lead us where we want to go?