{thoughts from the heart} winter stir craze, lent, and peace


“It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it.
And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Well here we are – one week in our new home and plenty of projects to keep us busy! We’ve had a relatively easy and peaceful move into our house. We’ve been so ready for it! And though it’s not ideal to move in the middle of winter, it did come at about the time that winter cabin fever sets in. We’ve found ourselves distracted and will continue to be distracted by the painting work, the wallpaper tear down, the carpet removal, and plenty of other small things along the way.

This time of year is usually characterized by gray skies, gray snow, and (can be) gray spirits if you’re in the upper Midwest. While there are plenty of articles out there about beating the winter blues, I’ve been trying to readjust my attitude to that of embracing. We all know it’s true that our bodies need time to rest and reset, and while I’ve been craving the sun just as much as the next person, I’ve been trying to recognize the goodness in the seasons. Winter provides time. Time is what it takes to read books, to spend time in meditation, and to exercise. Time is what it takes to try new recipes and to get together with friends and family. Winter’s gift to us, or at least part of it, is a reset. We get to be more deliberate with our time. And, if you’re a Christian, this winter season also coincides with the liturgical season of Lent.

Lent is often characterized by absence – a lack of some tasty treat we like, or some spirits to drink, or something we really enjoy. The point of it all, however, is not the lack. The point of Lent is to make room for something more or something greater – which is an arduous task of itself. We can hardly embrace the daily options for goodness if our life and spirit is filled with an attitude of complaining, want for more, or general discouragement or negativity. Lent, and dare I say Winter, provide us with the time it takes to reflect on our actions, our thoughts, and our desires. What do you really desire?

When I’ve taken the time to actually sit and think about that question, my answer always comes to something like “I want to be at peace in my day to day life and I want to make decisions and actions from this place of peace.” Eleanor Roosevelt’s words come as a brisk  (and cold) fresh breath of air: It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.

One must work at finding peace in daily living so that weathering the storms of the seasons doesn’t take it away. This Lent, and for the rest of this winter, I’ve resolved to set aside time each morning in reflection in hopes that my days would be less hurried and more appreciated. That I’d respond how I want to respond instead of how I respond when I’m tired, crabby, annoyed, or frustrated.

As the cabin fever sets in, I hope we can both turn to hope for spring, well thought out plans, and solitude well spent. Cheers to the weekend!


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