I recently came across a helpful word: wintering. Just as winter is a time of slowing down in much of the natural world, author Katherine May uses this word to describe our need to rest and recuperate during life’s “cold” seasons. I found the analogy helpful after losing my father to cancer, which sapped me of energy for months. Resentful of this forced slowing down, I fought against my winter, praying summer’s life would return. But I had much to learn.
Ecclesiastes famously says there’s “a season for every activity under the heavens”—a time to plant and to harvest, to weep and to laugh, to mourn and to dance (3:1–4). I had read these words for years but only started to understand them in my wintering season. For though we have little control over them, each season is finite and will pass when its work is done. And while we can’t always fathom what it is, God is doing something significant in us through them (v. 11). My time of mourning wasn’t over. When it was, dancing would return. Just as plants and animals don’t fight winter, I needed to rest and let it do its renewing work.
“Lord,” a friend prayed, “would You do Your good work in Sheridan during this difficult season.” It was a better prayer than mine. For in God’s hands, seasons are purposeful things. Let’s submit to His renewing work in each one.