Boston Winter Shaped My Character and Other Things Seasons Do

photo(1)Were you in Boston this past winter? I mean, for the winter that started in October and ended last week? The winter that seemed to have another month inserted into the middle of it? The winter that shows up under the definition of “unrelenting” in the dictionary? We ALL wanted this winter to end. It was terrible, and is always worse for the T-ers (much less the T-ers who have to walk over the Anderson Bridge everyday with the wind blowing them off of it, or the T-ers who have to contended with the Anderson Bridge AND Government Center being shut down, I should’ve skated down the Charles, it would have been easier).

But now? GLORIOUS now, with the flowers and trees and weather FINALLY in the 70s and you can go OUTSIDE AGAIN? We were all longing for this new season to come.

Are you longing for a new season to come?

My friend is getting married – she’s longing for a new season to come. Another friend is going back to school – she’s longing for a new season to come. Another friend’s daughter is in cancer treatment – she had some great seasons, but is in a very trying one right now. Another friend is working full time and going to post-grad school full time – she deliberately entered into a challenging season.

As for me, I’ve had a great season, with my awesome job and my awesome church, a very social season full of great relationships, especially with my two best friends. Yet my two best friends are both moving out of state, one to California, one to Texas, and they’re both moving within two weeks of one another. And this is happening really soon. My social activities will adjust, the dynamic of church and ministries will adjust, my communication methods will adjust, and one of my friends is my roommate, so the house atmosphere will adjust. Understandably, I’m not really stoked about the season I’m going into.

I’ve been praying a lot about it, and have recently come to see that this next season is going to be a solitary one. That’s the word that’s attaching to it. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing. I used to be a super loner, and the Lord has changed that quite around to the extent that people confuse me for an extrovert now! But I’ve been praying for the Lord to give me back some of my loner tendencies. Like being Ok with hanging out with myself. Keeping busy with my own projects. I’m also doing classes again starting this summer, so having the time and space will allow me to focus on schoolwork. I’ll also be training for a half marathon, so that will take up time. Plus I’ll have a lot of time to focus on Jesus. But I’ll also have time to focus on developing other friendships, too. And it’s not like my friends are disappearing. There’s always phone, text, Facetime. But things are going to have to adjust.

Do you sense a season shift coming on? There’s no reason not to prepare for it. Like us New Englanders who buy our down jackets and wooly boots when winter is coming, it’s similar prudence to pray and prepare for the change in life seasons, too. There was a Mark Driscoll sermon I heard once where he spoke about new seasons and the preparation for it. It involved prayer, but also scheduling, an evaluation of what ministry life will look like, what books he’d read during it, what relationships to invest in during it, etc. They are great things to think about. My prep has been prayer and awareness that this season could be a good, enjoyable season for me. I’ve needed reassurance too that this season won’t be devoid of anything I may need; I’ve been reminding myself of the Lord’s promise of “I shall not want.” I will not ever lack for anything in my life.

Like Boston winter – and Boston summer, for that matter – seasons come to a close and new seasons take their place. The dynamics, though, are good and needed: if it was 10 degrees and freezing all the time it would be terrible, but if it was 90 degrees and humid all the time it would be terrible, too. We need seasons to form our character, and we need to trust that they are all always for our good.

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