Happy New Year! My love for new years is well known. I love fresh starts and blank canvases and resolutions. And I love champagne and late night parties and all things glittery and gold. New Years is one of my all time faves.
Can I be real about what I do not love? The winter.
Three years in sunny Florida spoiled me rotten and I forgot what winter was like up North. And I'm only talking about a Virginia winter, not a Wisconsin winter, which frankly is a place not meant for human habitation in the winter months. Here in VA, the days are short and the sun is only just peeking out from some clouds today after being hidden for days. It's too cold for the park or for walks and even getting in the car to go somewhere is a giant hassle because of the whole getting a wiggly toddler into hat and coat and mittens ordeal. (Seriously, America...Do you know right now people in Florida are wearing tank tops and flip flops?! Get it together...)
This winter feels even more dreary because we just moved here a few weeks ago and I still don't know a soul. That's a real issue for me because I am the quintessential extrovert. I don't feel like I'm alive if I spend too much time alone. I thrive on connection and interaction and start to shrivel up like a raisin if I don't get enough of it. And I'm not getting enough of it, yet. It's lonely being the new kid.
Do you know what's different this time though? I think God is telling me to sit alone a little longer this winter because this won't be the last time I feel lonely.
Lonely winters tend to crop up in other places in my life. We just pulled up roots in Jacksonville and we're getting ready to put down roots here, knowing full well we'll just have to say a bunch of hard goodbyes and move in a few short years. All while living hundreds of miles from family and our oldest friends. Military life can be very lonely sometimes. But there are other lonely winters. Motherhood has seasons of loneliness. Long nights spent nursing, the isolation of staying at home, the nagging feeling that everyone else read their copy of "How to Parent with Ease" and mine got lost in the mail. My marriage can be lonely when we're not connecting or when we're standing on opposite ends of a conflict. Even my closest relationships can feel lonely when I desperately want to share my heart but I'm too scared that I'll get a side eye, or worse, a pat on the head and an overused adage like, "Prayers go up and blessing come down!" (To be fair, if you've made it into my inner circle, you've probably never said something like this to me cause you know what's good for you. If this is a saying you use and you are not a wooden sign at Hobby Lobby, then personally I think it's time to retire it.)
Life is full of lonely winters. Sometimes they're long and brutal and other times they vanish as quickly as they came, usually with the feeling of authentic connection that I crave so much. But I can feel God urging me to embrace the solitude this time so that, when the lonely winters do crop up, I can greet these seasons gently instead of my usual frantic anxiety.
The beauty of seasons is that they are always changing. I'm hoping spring will be even more beautiful and more full of life if I can wait for it's arrival patiently.
Also I'm taking the time to step back into writing, which is at times the loneliest of hobbies, spent in my own head at a computer by myself. My hope is that if you're reading this and you too are in a lonely season, you know you aren't alone. Let's be alone, together? I think it's the best way to be.
Cheers to the new year and embracing the loneliness and the changing seasons! Meet you back here soon.