It’s January, and I know that the sun is setting soon, here in the late afternoon hours. I’m alone in the house and that’s more rare than not. At least that’s been the case as of late. I’m sitting in my favorite place in the house — a gold chair in the southeast corner of my sitting room — and enjoying the few remaining minutes of daylight. I’m a night person, for sure, but in wintertime, the sun shining in on me when I sit in this treasured spot has been nothing short of therapeutic. I don’t dislike winter, or the cold, really. I don’t prefer them, but I can appreciate the changes they bring, the departure from the norm of the other seasons. I just like seasonal change.
But, life seasons. Life seasons, as opposed to meteorological seasons, don’t always appeal to me in the same way. The changes don’t always go over well with me. I *try* not to complain, but rather try to weather the somethings that come my way with some sort of decorum, finding something to be thankful for in all things. This has been a hard season, this New Year. We’re only three weeks in, but they’ve been a long, challenging three weeks. Sickness took over our household a couple days before the ball of light shimmied down the pole and signaled the hope and anticipation of 2016.
That seems like a while ago. I’m not even certain what changes or aspirations I had in mind in those seven days between stockings and noise makers, between gifts wrapped in bows and gifts reflected upon as the clock would strike midnight and a New Year would be ushered in. So much has been muddled and painful and tiresome and pushed through since then. As I sit here in the beautiful rosy-peach light that is fading too quickly, I find myself trying to put pieces together, daily schedules in place, maybe even give a passing thought to making a meal plan for the coming week, here in my favorite corner.
But then, I give up. I can feel the tension in my body. An almost shaking going on. My best attempts at clear thinking are failing, really. I realize that I just need to be. My colorful cat keeps me company, and relieves some of the stress I’m feeling just by being close, letting me love her. It’s been a particularly troubling 24 hours, on top of the aforementioned rough start to the year. Sometimes you find yourself in a position where you’re just not sure what direction to go and even though you’ve made a decent weighing of the options on both sides of the coin, there are still unknowns and you question your decisions. Or your resolve. Sometimes fear and sadness take over and you could pretend to be brave, pretend to be in a place of confidence, but, really, you are just going through the motions. And you find yourself praying, seeking counsel, making the best decision you can, and trusting God with the result. Because that’s all you can do.
And sometimes you just don’t realize the weight you were under until you’re all alone, staring out the window at the snow, unable to put two thoughts properly together, and you just lay it down. You give yourself the freedom to not be busy, to not be productive. Maybe the productivity is actually in the being quiet. The reflecting on how challenging the recent weeks have been. The stopping on purpose. My tension-weary skin says that yes, an all-out stop is the way to go. Because, I’m not often alone. And I’m tired. And the benefit that I could reap from letting my shoulders fall for a while might just be what’s necessary to stand taller tomorrow. The dimming light isn’t warm, but it’s warming. My curling up in this chair isn’t movement, but it can take me somewhere. To finally take real steps in this New Year.
Some mornings, as you lie in bed waking up, you aren’t thinking much of this date from years past. And on other, very particular mornings, you wake up and are highly aware of your surroundings. You’re listening to sounds in the house, taking in the light of the room, and comparing them to deep, treasured memories from this date years ago. This date is like no other for me. Six years ago this morning, in the southwest corner of my bedroom, in front of a small green sofa, next to two windows that were yet dark in the predawn light, my tiny boy came into this world. He was born underwater, after hours of great work, and handed to me by my beautiful midwife — “Take your baby. Take your baby,” she said. And I did, and I held him close. It was a sacred moment. The world outside would be marked by an enchanting hoarfrost, and my 9 lb, 2 oz baby boy would be swaddled and warm inside, in my arms. It’s not a cloudy sky outside my window today, and every tree and plant isn’t covered with the all-encompassing ice crystals of the hoarfrost of that morning. No, the sun is glorious this morning, and there is frost sparkling in it, but just on my windows. The predominant sound in the house is that of Legos swishing back and forth. And the hand that is sifting through those building blocks is much bigger today than it was six years ago. All of him has grown. And now he comes into my room, on those long legs of his, and says “I’m six today!” The first sounds he made were in this room, just after five o’clock a.m., those not-so-many years ago. Not words, but heartfelt and for me just the same. I tousle his thick, sunshine hair and smile, and my heart forms words that my mouth speaks. “You’re six today, my baby boy.” A day to celebrate the true gift you are, and another year of your precious life. Happiest of birthdays, Logan Grey.