It is the dark tunnel known as snowbird season in Sarasota. We snobby native transplants hate it. Traffic is tripled and it takes forever to get from point A to B (or to snag a table at your favorite restaurant.)
This is the price we pay for living in paradise, but the light at the end of the tunnel is knowing snowbird season doesn’t last forever.
So, too, with the tunnels of our lives. The dark seasons of our souls are just that – seasons.
Where I get off track (and maybe where you do, too) is when I take the tunnels all too seriously. Instead of distracting myself with a better-feeling thought, I build monuments to the dark ones and envision my future around their bleak paintings.
As if the tunnel times are the end-all story of my life.
When they’re just seasons.
These, too, shall pass.
Oh…but when you’re IN the midst of a tunnel time? Let’s belt out a rousing chorus of “Ain’t No Sunshine…”? Only Bill Withers’ soulful voice perfectly captures the depths of despair. Wailing is apropos.
Milk that darkness for a day or two and it can spin into weeks of not wanting to leave the bed and face the world.
Oh, you do. Because you HAVE to. The lottery tickets haven’t paid off yet and there are people, places, and things requiring our attention.
Have you ever felt like you were walking through quicksand?
Such has been my experience for about a month now. I tried to pin my mood on the new moon, which is supposed to influence the emotions of sensitive people.
But the new moon wasn’t so new anymore. So how to explain this malaise?
And in trying to figure it all out, it seemed I dug a deeper hole.
And then it dawned on me.
This is just a season.
When you’re in the frost of winter in your soul, it can feel like the buds will never sprout again.
Friends, don’t be so hard on yourself. (It never makes matters better.)
Faithful Mark, my loving partner, always wants to make things better. When he sees the dark storm clouds hovering over me, unlike some who would run for cover, he seeks ways to offer light. And I hope the story I am about to tell you sheds light on any darkness you might be feeling.
When I thought I couldn’t even remember how to feel happy again, he said, “Come outside for a minute.”
Still in my bathrobe, with Phyllis Diller hair sticking out and sleep in my eyes, I mustered enough oomph to shuffle out to the lanai.
And there was our avocado plant. Purchased as a housewarming gift nearly a year ago, it always looked healthy, but never offered hope that it would ever bear fruit.
At first, I didn’t see it. But I looked again, and there was not just one, but a whole family of baby avocado buds.
Just like when the Grinch’s heart melted because of Cindy Lou Who, mine stirred with a lately-unfamiliar feeling.
“…and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!”
Sometimes, it feels like NOTHING is happening. You’ve planted the seeds, watered, fertilized, and weeded them. And nada.
As if it’s Groundhog Day and it’s the same ‘ole same ‘ole and it’ll always be the same ‘ole same ‘ole.
You can feel like all of your effort is for naught. That all of your believing was just a pipe dream. That you should just settle for ordinary since CLEARLY this season of discontent is on an endless loop of auto-replay.
But take heart.
You may not see progress, but something’s getting ready to sprout.
I promise you, it’s getting ready to sprout.
Because there is an end to every season. Even a dark season of the soul.
The treasures you will mine in this fertilizer of darkness will richly serve you when the fruit arrives.
Keep looking for the sprout. It’s coming.
And celebrate the coming change. Because seasons always do.
Here’s our new WOW:
Oooooooh…let’s all go and take a nap!