A Winter Solstice Lesson

Tree branches in window.It is one of those bleak mid-winter mornings when dawn is about to break. I sip coffee while watching the first snowfall blow gently across the lawn. All seems calm and bright for the first time in a long while.

It’s been two years since my very tall husband tumbled in the middle of the night breaking his neck and part of his back. During the six-hour emergency surgery, while pacing the hospital halls, I made a promise that if he came out of it without paralysis; I would do all within my power to bring us through. So began a time of aimless wandering through my days and months with little or no direction, moving through circumstances that owned me, although I had no role in creating them.

For a control freak to be relegated to bystander is a most dreadful punishment, and playing nurse has never been my forte. I was powerless from stopping his future falls and soothing his pain, save offering him painkillers. It fell squarely in his court to muster courage, will, strength, and a positive attitude.

The more I tried to move things along, the deeper we sunk into the muck. With compassion I cajoled and force-fed him protein shakes, and in desperation turned to humor which occasionally brought us both a chuckle.

Looking back these two years were tough and bitter, but armored with a modicum of hope and friends, a sparkle began returning to my very being. This morning I see it all as an exercise in patience.

An Amaryllis plant which sits before me affirms my morning musings. I realize that I’ve been overanxious for its flower to appear. Each day I water it a bit, coaxing it to life, and each day it does what it’s meant to do–its bold pod staunch as if to say…in time…in time…I’m reminded of something Mark Nepo wrote: Whatever our path, the secret of life somehow always has to do with the awakening and freeing of what has been asleep.

Just as I evolved through this year contained and restrained by life’s will, so it is with my mysterious plant as I watch it emerge from the soil, growing taller and bolder. It is true of me as well.

It is the winter solstice–a time to give birth (or let bloom) to that which I have worked through this past year and then begin to plant new seeds for the future.

Indeed, as Nepo alludes to, I have been asleep, albeit almost sleepwalking. But on this morning I feel an awakening that will free me once again to look for and welcome the things that never were. Amaryliss blooming

Can you celebrate the old and the new this solstice? That is what this season of meditation is all about…to stay grounded and to grow through one life to another.