Winter’s Depth

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”  ~Albert Camus, Lyrical and Critical Essays

This post is a little bit reflective … a little bit writerly … but mostly, it’s about what it means to be human and to love and laugh and cry. So, read it anyway and just maybe you’ll come away with something you needed to hear today.

Life is so painfully short.

You already know this. Even in reading those words, your eyes probably scanned over them in the same way you glance at the date on your calendar—just long enough to register what they are. But, per usual, I want you to stop and think about that for a moment.

Life is so painfully short.

We are so often inconvenienced by the small things. The chill in the air. The discomfort in your rear end during the extra five minutes spent by the side of a sick friend with whom you’ve already kept company for far too long. The destination that’s out of the way and then some. Throwing that tennis ball for the dog one more time. Writing that love letter. We have ‘things’ to do. We have agendas to keep, people to please and scenes to pen. We are busy … so so busy. Consumed even.

We are also speeding through a life that’s only being halfway lived.

I’ve been accused of saying “I love you” too often. Hugging too much. But, a very long time ago I learned that if we will only look closer, there is a gift in each and every moment we are given in this world. And more often than not, that gift is easily overlooked as we search and pine for bigger things. We set lofty goals, but forget that along the way, are all of the things that make reaching our goal so wonderful. Yeah, you’ve heard that it’s the journey … we all have. Yet, there is a huge difference in knowing that and applying it to your everyday life. It’s the same sort of warm and fuzzy moment after a good Sunday sermon or a tear-jerking movie. You know, that hour and a half where everything is suddenly more meaningful. It fades because, like most things in our fast food world, it isn’t truly absorbed.

When it comes to your writing, however, and your life, let me assure you that if you don’t slow down and savor these small things … there will come a time when you regret that choice. A moment will slip past you that you didn’t even know to hope for. A detail. A kiss. A hug. A sigh. A whispered declaration of something seemingly simple. In that lost moment, could very well be the beginning of a much larger dream you’ve been pining over for years. Had you only stopped to breathe it in, you might have caught it and hung on.

We are all so richly blessed. I say this in the midst of a parent fighting cancer, and the tail end of a painful divorce. So, don’t think this a trite bit of pithy advice. Through this years’ trials, I’ve come to further appreciate the unbelievable gifts in my life—the people who have made that life worth living. Worth continuing. I’ve never been more grateful to have resisted some of the darker thoughts that I courted these last few years. Sure, I could have avoided the pain and the lessons learned the hard way. But, my God, what I would be missing out on now.

My mistakes are countless. I’ve hurt others and then sacrificed my pride in owning those actions and the pain they caused. For that reason also, I am ‘aware’ of every day I get to live. I have more than I deserve. More than I could ever rightfully ask for. And I want nothing more than for everyone else who I have the pleasure of knowing, even virtually speaking, to be given the same kind of gratitude for the trivial. It will change your writing. It will change your life and those who have the honor of living it alongside you. Don’t let the day end without telling those you love, that you love them. Be inconvenienced. Be uncomfortable. Be silent. Touch. Whisper. Breathe.

Allow the depth of winter to show you all that it has to offer … and be everything you were intended to become in this life.