I remember a season a few years ago when a friend and I were discussing winter and she said she looked forward to the stillness and lack of demands of the winter months. She mentioned things like reading, sleeping well, hibernating and enjoying the fact that January was not December, a month that expects a lot from us.
I thought about that—when I got a breath—this January.
None of it applied.
January has become a demanding month at the newspaper where I work. It comes with a variety of special projects and this year, training on a new computer system was added to the mix. My Bible Study Fellowship and its related homework resume, I have to figure and pay Indiana sales tax on book proceeds by January’s end, and we had several unexpected expenses including the death and burial of Brian’s long-loved (and hated) exercise machine (which passed away one month after the much-renewed and too-often-used service contract ended).
There was the carpeting, which we had planned for, the death of the dishwasher, which we had not, and two vehicles’ worth of new tires which also took us by surprise.
Oh yes, December was nothing on the bank account compared to January.
I also worked on upgrading some social media and installing Paypal and a few other things in prep for the new book later this year. I keep asking myself: Will I make good use of the changes and more, their potential?
The month ended with a women’s retreat. And then some bad things happened. There were three sudden deaths over the past few days in families of people I know well and care about. My heart goes out to all the families touched by these circumstances and unexpected losses.
Basically, last month and the recent passings have left me feeling cranky.
But we are grateful for the good things in life, all the same. This day dawned sunny—such a treat—and I used the morning to sit down and go through all of our financial statements and expenses that are needed for getting our income taxes done in a couple of weeks. After a couple of intense hours gathering, paper-clipping and adding expenses on my business, I took a break and checked email.
There in the inbox was the subject matter of “Program” and the email from someone whose name I didn’t recognize. Sure enough, it was someone from my hometown inviting me to give a program to senior citizens at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23 in the Union County Public Library. The topic is “Reminisce” and I’m asked to share some hometown memories. Would I consider it?
Sometimes it takes something that might seem small to improve an otherwise blah day. I needed something to brighten my outlook and while I am thankful to those inviting me, I am crediting the Good Lord for arranging it.
I’m beginning to see January in my rear view mirror as I pull deeper into February. And that is a good thing.
What winter joys do you see ahead for yourself? Or maybe you are enjoying a laid-back season of reading, snuggling and relaxing. Some friends from church are leaving today for a short-term Philippines mission trip. Some others are leaving for Florida. Some family just returned from there.
Whatever is on your winter calendar, I wish you sunshine in your spirit as well as out your window. And a sweet surprise or two along the way.