January marks the new year and the mid-winter gloom. I comment to my family often that my autobiography will be titled, “Living Under the Cloud.” Growing up and living my whole life here in northern Minnesota means that I’ve spent 40 years with a deep knowing that the cold, dark, and grey days and nights are as certain as death and taxes. What I’m learning now is that my habits and reactions are altered in this grey time, too. In January, I find myself heading to bed earlier and lingering longer under the warm blankets in the morning. I am reflective, somber, yearning, and quiet. Somewhere along my journey, I believed that summer, with its warmth and sun and wild growth was better than winter. I grew to despise not only the winter but myself in winter. Wintertime Nikki fights against depression, fatigue, apathy, and boredom. Cheekily, my mom bought me an engraved wood block that said, “Forgive the things I said when it was winter.” Its hidden truth makes me smirk. I despise my winter self, believing that the only person worthy of my love and acceptance is summertime Nikki with her tanned shoulders, walking down the road with the sun warming her face. Oh, glory be!
Who do you find yourself hoping to be? Do you have a preferred self? Someone who seems to glimmer and shine in all its authentically beautiful glory?
Also, do you have a tolerated self? Someone you work hard at hiding, hoping to never be exposed?
As we evolve and grow, this dichotomy loses effectiveness. We are invited by our Creator to unite the two selves, seeing and living as one being just as we were created. While we will always have preferences for habits and seasons and values, we don’t need to separate ourselves into good and bad, winter and summer, apathetic or inspiring. We get to join it all up, knowing that everything belongs, learning to love and nurture our tolerated self too.
My prayer for us this day is that God would make our joy complete. May we know that we are enough as we are, winter, spring, summer, and fall. May we receive the deep wisdom that guides us to grow and evolve.