345. Always Winter but Never Christmas

I’m tired, guys.

I look out my window at a desert of old snow. Once soft and shining, it has become an icy crust over withered grass and frozen mud. The sun shines now and then, melting snow, only for the water to freeze overnight into slick, dangerous patches of ice. I haven’t had even a glimpse of green leaves in months. The landscape is a gloomy muddle of white and brown and gray. Overhead, the sky is a weary, faded blue… when it isn’t covered by clouds. It’s cold.

I’m so tired.

Work has been ghastly. We’ve been short-staffed, putting everyone under pressure. My workplace has become toxic with complaints, accusations, gossip, and abusive remarks. No matter how hard I work, I seem to take an unfair share of blame. I often feel unappreciated at work, but I’m beginning to feel unwanted. It hurts.

At the end of the day, exhausted, I go to bed, trying not to think about work, blogging, or any of the things on my to-do list. That list never seems to get any shorter: like the hydra, which grows two heads for each one cut off, my to-do list defies my attempts to conquer it.

I’m so, so tired.

C.S. Lewis once described a curse that made it “always winter but never Christmas.” I’m amused by the childlike clarification about the holiday. After all, when confronted by eternal winter, only children would be concerned by its effect on Christmas; the grownups would be too busy worrying about food, warmth, shelter, and the collapse of Society As We Know It.

C.S. Lewis knew a thing or two about winter.

I feel cold just looking at this picture.

All the same, I admit that “always winter but never Christmas” paints a bleak picture. It suggests gloom, bitterness, and suffering with no consolation. There are no holidays to brighten the darkness: no parties, presents, or carols to keep hope alive. “Always winter but never Christmas” is an awful thing. It wears away a person.

In the end, though, that curse was broken. No winter lasts forever. Sooner or later, spring melts the snow and breathes life into the grass and trees. Spring is a resurrection. Spring is a promise, echoing the very words of God: “I am making everything new!”

I should also point out, for the record, that I had a very nice Christmas.

As it happens, beyond the holidays, my winter hasn’t lacked for blessings. I haven’t run out of coffee. I grumble about winter from the warmth of a cozy apartment. My job has hit a rough patch, yet I’m thankful to be employed. My life isn’t really “always winter but never Christmas.” It’s occasionally winter and sometimes Christmas, and there’s one more consolation.

Spring is coming.

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This tree stands outside my window: at this moment, a desolate skeleton sticking out of the snow. As this photo reminds me, spring will make it new.

I’m waiting to see some blossoms on the skeletal trees outside my apartment. I’m trusting, hoping, and persevering—at least, I’m trying. (I’m certainly drinking a lot of coffee, so that helps.) Spring will arrive with warmth and sunshine and explosions of pink petals. I know it will.

As I blunder onward, one day at a time, I’m trying not to forget it.

6 thoughts on “345. Always Winter but Never Christmas

  1. I could swear I’ve read this post before here! Or at least seen that tree… Hmm. Anyway, I understand what you mean. The other day I was shoveling a fresh 16 inches of snow and thought “You know, if this was Christmas Day I’d be SO excited. To have this kind of white Christmas would be amazing! And what is Christmas Day but a day we made up on a calendar we invented? All the joy or misery is in my head, based on what I’ve chosen to accept.”

    Related story, as I was walking through a parking lot with my wife this weekend I remarked how wonderful the weather was at just over 38 degrees. “It’s a little chilly,” she replied, indicating that “it’s still cold.” My response to that was a cheerful “Yeah! It’s only a LITTLE chilly! Woo!” 🙂

    I won’t tell you to enjoy the snow, because when you’re tired it’s hard to enjoy anything. I will tell you I’ll say a prayer for you, and hope you see some sunshine soon. (It’s out my window right now, going to be 50 degrees today! I’m sure it’ll reach you soon as well!)

  2. Well, I live in the South US where it’s already warm enough to sweat throughout the day. Even when it is cold, I’m lucky enough to not be affected by the weather. I am able to see the beauty of nature in every day. So that helps.

    I can certainly empathize with being tired. I have too many things on my to-do list as well and they weigh on me.

    Strangely, my mind thinks the tired times are a good opportunity to write. I would never write otherwise. Not too long ago, when I reached a low point, I wrote the following poem. I hardly even recall writing it, but I found it a few days later. If you can make sense of it, maybe it will help? (I do not claim to be a poet, just someone that can hold a pencil.)

    I’ve become tired as of late
    For a true meaning do I wait.
    If all I am shall come to waste,
    Then all my thoughts were falsely based.
    If I at last from life depart,
    Then might I ask my reason to start,
    With purpose as naught,
    And meaning forgot?

    Surrounded by this darkness,
    Arises a time of pure happiness.
    Something to which I may look,
    A face, a song, a book.
    One or two of these,
    May lift me up with a breeze.
    And carry me, if it may,
    To find a brighter day.

    • I think being tired forces us in a way to let go of some top-level thought and judgment that we quash deeper feelings and emotions with. It allows us to peek inside ourselves without the filter (wall) that our brains put up. A bypass of our brain’s careful watch, as it keeps us locked in the safety of the prison that’s been crafted just for us. Generally speaking, the brain does not wish us to be writers, because it lives in the realm of logic more than creativity. (Or at least, it does that because we train logic in our world today, much more than we train creativity.)

      Anyway, long story short, I like the poem and I’m glad you were tired enough to write it. 🙂 Maybe it’s a chance to try writing when you’re not tired too, I dunno!

    • A college friend once told me that studies had shown physical exhaustion could have a positive effect on a person’s ability to write. I’m not certain whether that’s true, but I know I’ve done quite a lot of writing (especially fiction) late at night. There might be something to the theory that tiredness makes writing easier!

      I hope you’re able to conquer your to-do list and find your brighter day! 🙂

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