The Right Attitude in Times of Challenge

The more we overcome, the more we gain in wisdom, understanding, and building a character that does not give way to panic in times of crisis.

In the US Pacific Northwest, spring is a big deal. From the dark, rainy, sometimes snowy winter, suddenly the sun emerges and everywhere splashes of color burst out in pink, white, yellow, purple, and red.

Driving through the mountain roads, the same roads that just a week ago were too perilous to cross without tire chains, the transformation is evident.  Such a drastic transition from cold and grey, to warm and colorful, makes us pause, and ask: did we use the winter to prepare to welcome spring?

Winter is hard. It challenges us, but how we weather it determines how we greet spring. Planters in the Northwest know that a cold snap is an important step for some seeds to begin gestation.

When we lose sight of the cycle of death and rebirth, and the opportunities for growth and learning that the hard times in life give us, then when the sun hides its face, when things are no longer joyfully colorful, when the warm breeze is replaced by a cold, wet squall, we lose a very important opportunity for reflection, cleansing, and reorientation.

This winter had more snow than usual, and it lasted through April. For many, there are moments where the feeling of being hopeless and empty in the face of the endless wet and cold start to seep in. In those moments of inner challenge, we have the opportunity to readjust our bearings and keep sight of what the experience of winter teaches us and does for us. Snow, for one, shows us a completely different viewpoint on the same landscape. And, there are so many things possible with snow. But also, in the cold, the unnecessary things, mold, critters in the house, are cleared, and we prepare for a new life – if we keep perspective.

It is the same in life. There will inevitably be challenges in life, patches of winter here, and there. But winter gives us an opportunity to check our attitude, connect with God, the source of our inspiration, strength, and wisdom, slough off excess growth and strip down to the essentials, and make room for new possibilities. If we allow it. And sometimes winters last longer than we want it to, but if we realize that maybe there is more to go through, we can take full advantage of the opportunity it presents. Then when the land warms up, and the buds peak their heads out of the thawing ground, and the birds begin to sing again, we can greet spring, without past baggage, transformed by winter, ready to face our next chapter in life.