Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Getting Ahead

It’s spring now, and we’ve gotten out our Easter decorations.

The bunnies, chicks, and plastic eggs are fewer these days.  The stuffed rabbit that sang about Easter when you pressed a button on his belly is gone.  He is probably gracing the living room of some lucky child whose unlucky mama brought him home from the thrift store.  We still have plenty to cheer us up while winter hangs out a little longer.

We sprang ahead, giving ourselves an extra hour of daylight to do our outdoor work.   Because the air is still frigid there’s not much outdoor work being done here.  The patio furniture is still hiding away, the grass still sleeping under its hibernation blanket of a fresh almost-layer of snow, dead leaves and withered, clumpy grass from last summer.  The flowers are under there, somewhere.

It may be spring, but it’s still winter.

We are still wearing sweaters and boots, hats and gloves, scarves and socks.  All the cheery pastels and chocolate eggs in the world can’t change the temperature and intention of the weather.

We have to wait.  We can’t really speed it along.  We can unearth our flip-flops and forgo heavy coats for bare arms and legs but we look silly when we can see piles of snow and our teeth chatter from the cold.

We are to be patient.  The seasonal cycle has slowed.  Cold air doesn’t care about the calendar.  My resolve to weather the weather is crumbling.  I just want it to be over already.  I want to wash up all our winter gear and stuff it in boxes out of sight.

It is the same with other things.  We rush our children to grow – why don’t they behave the way we discussed?  We wish our spouses would catch up – why doesn’t he listen to me?  We want our family members and friends to get with the program already – why are they making the same mistakes?

We consider that they are not learning.  They are not doing enough.  They are creating their own chaos.  They are making our lives more difficult.  Why can’t they see it? 

We turn our thoughts inward.  I am no better than anybody else.  I am the same.  Why do I continue to spin my wheels?  There is room for me to move forward, do something different.

In these minutes, days, weeks, and months of winter’s desert cold, I would do well to remind myself to be patient.  To not get ahead of myself, the weather, those around me. 

Like the seasons, we all change when we are ready.  It might not be convenient; the weather is not always ready for flip-flops and egg hunts and daffodils when we are.  Likewise, people shift gears when they are ready.

When we step out in our spring attire too early, we are hit with the cold and are sent inside for more layers of protection.  In other cases, getting ahead of ourselves – or others – may be met with a push back, leading to the realization that we are pushing when it isn’t appropriate.  Relationships suffer; we grab loved ones’ hands and yell “C’MON!” while they dig in their heels.  Sometimes we can motivate them to take action.  Sometimes we are better off meeting them where they are and joining them in their stroll.

And when the weather outside doesn't seem to want to change, I will stay in, snuggle into my sweaters and socks, sip my coffee, and be more patient.


If you could make up your own holiday, what would it be?  
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  1. I could go for a fistful of those M&Ms right now. Mid-afternoon lull and all.

    I loved the line "It may be spring, but it's still winter." Here in the south, even. We had sleet yesterday before soccer practice and frigid wind during.

    Soon enough, we'll complain about the suffocating humidity. I'd like to linger in the somewhere in between!

    Thanks for the shoutout to the six-word post, too. Glad you were in it!

    1. Thanks, Eli! We've had sleet the past couple of days, too. Here's to temperance! Outside AND in.

      Loved your holidays post! There were some holidays there that I can really get on board with.

  2. I'm eating cadbury mini eggs as I read this!
    I've never been more cold! I know March is usually cold, but not 12 degrees at night cold.
    And I think about sometimes how I want to rush certain stages of my kids' lives. Of my own. Are these the "winters" of our lives?

    1. Cadbury mini eggs are one of my many weaknesses. Thank goodness they only come out once a year.

      I really thought about your comment about this being the winters of our lives. I've never thought of it that way, but it's a perfect description of these in-between stages of parenthood. Sometimes I feel like my own life is hibernating while I tend to the needs of my family.

  3. I like the analogy of Spring not quite Spring, and people not quite where we hope/ want them to be. Will things ever be where we want it? Or is it just a matter of perspective?

    1. I don't know if things will ever be where we want them. I am much too impatient, I think. I have a hard time enjoying the present - there seem to be too many distractions.

      I have to practice being intentional about staying in the moment.

  4. I relate to this so much. I am *trying* to be patient, with myself, with others (especially my sweet, except when they're not, littles), with the weather. But patient is hard for me. Your photos in this post are really lovely!

    1. Thank you Angela! Sometimes I feel like my patience is being tested and broadened to fulfill a purpose, but that purpose is elusive to me. Sigh. :)

  5. A perfect metaphor for imperfect people.
    Which is all of us,


    1. Thanks Julie! Imperfection can be forgiving, and sometimes it can be such a jerk.

  6. Your decorations are beautiful. What a great spirit lifter!

    It is so easy to wish for something different than what we have and now appreciate the now. Learning to see the moment for what it is and not what we think it should be is a skill that often alludes me.

    1. Thank you Tammy! I also have a hard time appreciating the moment, because so much of my day is spent doing the mundane, moment-to-moment things. I rarely plan ahead, and by the time I do, the future is already filled up.