Winter – A Season for Dying
First of all, if you were one of those with enough morbid curiosity to click on a post titled, “Winter – A Season For Dying” – well, thank you for embracing your morbid curiosity. I hope to not disappoint you.
A little preface… Six months ago I packed up my family, left the suburbs of Nashville, and moved to the country in hopes of cultivating a simpler and more self sufficient lifestyle. We arrived in the middle of July and I immediately set about planting a very late season garden.
I learned a few things. First off, gardening is WAY more physically demanding than I expected, but I kind of liked that in a sadistic cross fit kind of way. Second, my garden was far from perfect. It was planted out of season, and with all kinds of technical errors, but things still grew. In fact, I have a cellar full of about a hundred sweet potatoes right now – some of them are small and a little on the ugly side, but they came still came out of the imperfect garden that I worked. I guess God can cause lots of good things to grow from imperfect circumstances if you’ll just show up and give it some effort.
The next thing that I learned was that weeds grow much more easily than Tomatoes. In fact, weeds grow better than anything I planted in the garden this year with possible exception of Okra – which really only solidifies my suspicion that the nasty stuff is just a rogue weed masquerading as a vegetable.
Weeds, although a pain in the @#$, are easy to handle if you pull them out right when they start to grow – a little tiny leaf popping out of the soil with one itsy bitsy little tap root under it. Just brush them with your feet and the pull right out. However, weeds are not as easy when they’ve grown for a week because you didn’t pull them because you were busy with work. At this point, you’re gonna need a little muscle and some garden tools.
If they somehow grow for about a month because you planted everything too close together and there’s no space to get in there and weed anymore, you’re going to practically need a shovel and a small crane to yank those suckers out of the ground – Oh, and most of them will have thorns that which add the element of agonizing pain to the jolly little experience.
Eventually, it’s no longer weed control, it’s morphed into some kind of weed resistance. They’re the ones in charge now, and you’re just doing your best to subvert their kingdom that is slowly and progressively sucking the life out of your meager little garden.
A little longer, and the war isn’t over, but you realize that you’re on the losing side at this point. As you walk carefully along the edge of the garden, you hear the faint sound of a sun starved carrot begging for water somewhere beneath several sequoia sized thistles.
At this point, there’s no way now to rid the garden of weeds. They’ve taken root. They’ve taken over. They haunt you in your nightmares, you fear for your children and pets.
And then winter arrives…
When winter first started to frost things over here in TN, my first thought was that this really sucks. All of my plants started dying. My tomatoes were the first to go – my tomatoes that were absolutely covered with almost ripe tomatoes. If a garden vegetable had a grim reaper or an angel of death though, it would be freezing temperatures.
When the water freezes, the plants die. It’s just that simple. What I realized though as I was standing on the edge of the garden remains a couple of weeks ago is that along with my almost ripe tomato plants, all of the weeds were dying too. It was then that something snapped a little inside of me and I caught myself laughing in the deranged way that someone who has finally beaten an invincible foe might laugh. Think Dr. Frankenstein screaming, “It’s alive! It’s Alive!” only I’m thinking – “They’re dying! They’re dying!”
It was glorious! All of those SOB weeds were wilting away to their doom and demise! …and then it hit me. Winter is a beautiful thing. I’ve always disliked the winter seasons of life because it means that a lot of things I’ve worked hard for are coming to an end. Lots of times I’ve experienced it – relationships, jobs, moves, etc.
The reality though is that we need winter seasons in our lives. We need the seasons in life where some things die off because life has a natural progression towards becoming so overcrowded with things that shouldn’t be growing there in the first place and begin to choke the life out of the things that do need to be growing.
See, the thing is, before I can fix this garden and do it right, all of the things in there that I did wrong need to go away, and winter does it beautifully. Even though I don’t appreciate it as I’m freezing my um… fingers off and looking at some serious hopes lying wilted on the ground.
It’s in the uncomfortable winter seasons of life where we are finally forced to stop all of the activity and begin to focus on how we’re going to do it differently next time.
God has hard wired seasons into this world as a beautiful and Divine do-over mechanism, and in the same way, sometimes God shuts down areas of our lives so that the things which are suffocating our purpose and potential can die off.
So if you’re in a winter season right now, don’t lose hope that the good things of life will grow again. In fact, be encouraged that if you make the most of this season, the next season of growth will be better than the last. Use this season as an opportunity to regroup, correct the mistakes, and plan for something even more beautiful than what you had before. And be thankful that some of the weeds in your life are going to die!