We see it all around us with the slow and steady arrival of spring. New life and a new day. There’s something sacred about the spring, and I never quite understood it until I moved to New York City.
After living in Los Angeles for six years, my first winter in the city hit me like a freight train. During the holidays it was breathtaking; I loved the lights, ice skating at Bryant Park, walking 5th ave with hot chocolate, going sledding at Central Park. It was the like the movies and it felt magical.
Then, January 1st hit and it was like a concrete wall came crashing down. The excitement was gone, and we collectively braced ourselves for another four months of bitter cold. Most days it was dark by 4:30p.m., and on the sub zero days it was all we could do to leave our homes in the morning for work. The snow and ice seemed unending. We were walking zombies through the streets, shoulders hunched and teeth clenched, just praying for winter to end.
But then, quietly, it started to happen. Almost unnoticeable at first. The days stretched out a little longer. The endless grey gave way to peaks of golden light. Less and less we were scared to slip on black ice. Then, on a Tuesday morning you leave your house in only a jean jacket, and realize while walking to the subway that it’s a miracle. Spring is here.
We feel distinctly alive in this season. People stand up straighter, walk with their shoulders back and heads held high. There is a squeamish delight and energy bouncing around the city as tiny buds appear on some of the trees. Spring is pulsating through our veins, and I wonder if there could be an invitation for us with its coming. An invitation to join spring on the journey of a new life. To have a fresh start. To forgive. To be present in the moment at hand.
The cherry blossoms aren’t angry at the winter. They don’t hold on begrudgingly to the icy nights that tortured us all. They just are.
We see it all around us in nature with the coming of spring; it’s a new beginning. The cherry blossoms aren’t angry at the winter. They don’t hold on begrudgingly to the icy nights that tortured us all. They just are. They bud, grown, bloom, and they fall to the ground. And we know that the death brought in winter is the only way that space can be created for the dawn of yet another spring.
For me, I had a hard winter. I met a guy. We became close friends. We dated. We cared for each other deeply. Then, things didn’t work out. We both made mistakes, and we both hurt each other. We went places physically and emotionally that I wish we hadn’t gone. In the end, we not only ended our romantic relationship, but we left behind a significant friendship, too. We limped away from the wreckage we caused with a deep sense of loss.
Late one night, I knocked on my best friend’s apartment door. She opened and the tears had already started. My heart was aching, no … actually it felt like it was bleeding full of remorse and what ifs. Like the best friend she is, she held me and let me cry. Not judging. Not trying to fix. Not giving cliche answers. She just let me be, and I felt safe.
She made me tea and sweet potato fries, and I knew this was a night that would stay with me forever. Something about it felt holy. I cried some more, and then called a cab to take me home. Right before I left, as I zipped my puffer jacket to enter into the freezing cold New York winter night, she hugged me and whispered,“The sun will rise tomorrow, my love,” and I wept into her arms before heading home.
And you know what happened?
The next morning I woke up, and the sun also rose.
With puffy eyes I laid in my warm bed remembering the pain of the night before, and the aftermath of the heartache I still felt. But she was right: The night turned into dawn, and the sun also rose.
I look back on those freezing winter nights that collided with my broken heart, and I sit here with spring on my front porch and a spirit ready for a fresh start.
The painful moments of our pasts whisper to us that we are all alone and can never move on. That’s the lie of the winter, though. Take heart. The morning will come.
It’s perfect, really. Because what we experience in nature is what we experience in life. Yesterday doesn’t define me or you. Our past isn’t who we are. My family history is laced with divorces, addictions, infidelities, eating disorders, abandonments, and broken promises. There was a lot of pain. And we’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives. For some reading this right now, you’re in the midst of it and it’s devastating. The painful moments of our pasts whisper to us that we are all alone and can never move on. That’s the lie of the winter, though. Take heart. The morning will come. And when it does, acknowledge your yesterday. Acknowledge the pain, the hurt, the heartaches, the could haves, would haves, should haves, and the regrets.
Then, let them go. Receive the invitation of spring for a new beginning.
For a fresh start.
The choice and the power is yours to receive it. With the dawn of a new day you get the opportunity to start a new legacy. The way things were in your family or past relationships don’t get to define the way your now is, or the way your future will be.
So, I invite you to join me in the journey of spring.
You are a trailblazer of this new beginning. You can create a tidal wave of hope for yourself, for your family, for generations to come by letting go of the past of your winter. The possibilities are endless, but it all starts with one step. One foot in front of the other, keeping your eyes ahead.
Because no matter how dark a season, the sun will always rise. The winter will always turn to spring.
What “winter” are you facing right now? Do you believe that a spring will come?
Image via Kat Harris