Although winter has never been my favorite season, over the past few years I’ve actively dreaded it.
DJ and I began referring to the fall time change as the beginning of The Long Dark Tunnel. We’re pretty serious when we remind each other that we don’t make major life decisions or undertake any serious self-examination in February.
It’s not so bad at first. There’s the last of autumn color. Then we get into the holidays, which are rushed but full of joy and warmth. My birthday is in January, so I can usually eke out a little more enthusiasm.
But then I stop and look around. The world is barren and brown. The light doesn’t last very long. It’s cold. The dreariness settles into my soul, and everything turns kind of gray.
I don’t even like snow.
As winter approaches this year, I suddenly realized that I’m tired of playing this game. I don’t like feeling this way. Something needs to change.
Now, I’m not one to “choose joy” even when I don’t feel like it. If I’m not happy, I’m not going to try to pep-talk myself into it. But I did read an article that has me thinking. It was about the Norwegians who live so far north that they don’t even get daylight from November till March. However, they don’t necessarily dread winter; many of them like it. Why?
Well, for one thing, their close-knit communities endure the dark and cold together–as opposed to our suburban neighborhood where people move in and out and rarely get to know one another. Secondly, they have the clothes and experience to deal with freezing temperatures and snow. Three inches of snow shuts down our entire county, and my kids only occasionally have snow clothes that fit them.
Still, I finished the article with the same question. How can I not dread winter, but find reasons to enjoy it?
I don’t actually have answers yet. I’m looking for some. I’m taking it on faith — on the hope that there’s beauty in almost anything — that there’s something to appreciate about the bleak midwinter.
It’s not that I expect to laugh into the gray face of February this year. But maybe I can find reason enough to smile at her.