Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hibernation is for the Bears or Pressed Down but not Crushed

I have been trying to get to writing this post for the last two weeks.

I enjoy winter and snow and fires and hot chocolate, but at some point the winter blues catch up with me and make me irritable, weepy and occasionally downright mean. After a few days of crying, fussing and acting like a bear I certainly did wish I could hibernate. Hide in my room and not come out for a couple of months, oh, about the time the grass comes in nice and thick and the smell of spring flowers perfume the air.

Alas, my reality does not allow for total hibernation.

I did send out requests for prayer. Winter is a very lean season for us, as farm sales slow down to a near halt. Unfortunately the animal feed needs increase substantially long before market season begins. Philip is one of the many many people we know who has been suffering from job loss this winter. Add some health issues, broken down vehicles, firewood shortage and one of the harshest winters in years and you have one pressed down mama bear. I mean farmer.

When I feel pressed down I don't feel like writing. Every one has their own set of worries and troubles and the last thing they need is to hear me whine and complain. We have so much for which I am grateful. Plenty of food. Wonderful blankets and comfortable beds. Mason jars and hot water that make for wonderful bed warmers. Not to mention the hot showers. Every time I have a hot shower I say thank you to God. Every time we sit down to the table I say thank you. When the wash goes from the washer to the dryer I say thank you.

But even so, the worries are there. The bills. The health issues. The needs of the kids and the farm. The broken stuff.

I would like to bury my head under a pillow and disappear for a season.

But the morning comes and the cows have to be milked.

When the kids were little, I would force myself to move during moments of weakness because I knew they couldn't feed themselves. Now they can make their own omelets or pot of oatmeal. They need me, but not desperately.

The cows, however, need me.

During the very darkest days a couple of weeks ago, it felt like torture to force myself into the cold to squat down and milk. But once out there, hands warmed by steaming udder, face nuzzled up to warm flank, I breathed in and out, in and out, knowing that eventually all would be well. Occasionally the milking was accompanied by tears, but Coco didn't seem to mind. She even helped me get myself out of the house by bellowing for me a couple of mornings, to let me know how important my role was.

Maybe some people would scoff at my weak spots, deride me for succumbing to my self pity and angst. Tell me to pull myself up by the boot straps, dust off and get back to work.

Thankfully the cows and my other friends don't.

They remind me that the cold hard days are hard. That a few tears and sorrow and grief won't kill me. That feeling weak doesn't mean I am a failure. Just tired.

Then morning comes along, the sun comes up, the kettle whistles, the bowls get sterilized and once again, the discipline of milking gets me moving.

I am thankful for that discipline. Don't always enjoy it, but it helps to keep me from drowning in despondency.

Also thankful for encouraging friends, gifts, sweet notes and for God who gives me faith and reminds me that it is okay to be a little weak every once in awhile. Lent is the season to remember that we are but dust. That we are needy. That dark days are a part of the real life. And that sometimes what we need is a recipe for Tear Drop Tea.

Here you have it:

Acknowledge that life hurts.

Feel sorrow for the hungry and hurting people in the world.

Realize that you cannot fix everyone's problems, not even all your own.

Lift up your arms and your eyes to heaven and cry out.

Make sure and do follow this recipe in a quiet, lonely spot, or maybe you need to find a friend who knows how to weep when you weep.

Rest assured that God is collecting all your tears and placing them in a bottle, according to Psalm 56. Verse 8 is especially precious to me:

You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?

So anyway, feeling a bit blah these days. Maybe you should come back and read posts come April when winter is a distant memory. I will try to not get too bleak, but want to keep it real. If I never report on the teary days, some future farmer might get the crazy idea that all is rosy and happy and be terribly disappointed when life happens.


Chris said...

I'm glad to see you are posting, good or bad, it's good to hear from you.

I've had a few days lately when I just couldn't get warm, didn't want to look at snow, and every little problem seemed large. At one point, I followed your recipe. When I was through one of my dogs came over and licked my hands and face, caring for me, so sweet.

Spring will come, we'll have some good stories to tell and know that we can survive.

Holly said...

i'm glad i'm not the only one who feels like everything is bleak and hopeless. if i were with you, i'd cry with you, ginger. spring is but a few months away! said...

Hi Chris! I am glad you liked my recipe. Aren't pets so kind. And yes, we will be stronger come spring.

Thanks for being willing to share tears, Holly! You are right. Hang in there.