My friend Beth is an artist. She gifts so many of us with what her heart/mind sees, somehow faithfully capturing those same images in her pictures. This picture was her Facebook post on Friday. Not sure what her heart held, but this picture spoke deeply to me.
Winter months have come to be my hardest . Although winter holds many places of celebrations - February is even my birthday month, for goodness sakes. Not to mention winter holding Christmas and New Years and Epiphany and Valentine’s and St Pat’s Day. AND yet, and yet it’s my hardest season. It’s always been like that for me. Growing up in Central Illinois, the winters took so dang long. And even living here in Atlanta, I’m cranky every time I have to pull on my gloves and scarf. Don’t get me wrong; winter holds beauty like no other. I am grateful each year to see the trees without the leaves - being able to see each one particularly. I love winter sunsets and sunrises. I love the clarity of the stars on a winter night. There’s something holy about actually seeing my breath. But winter, each year, seems to be hard on me.
I just don’t like feeling cold – physically or emotionally. Cold gets inside my bones and lives there too long. Cold keeps my shoulders and my spirit scrunching in. And when I’m doing that – I’m not much good to anybody, not much good for anybody. Especially me.
Beth’s Friday-picture somehow reminds me of hope living in the midst of winter. With those chairs, I can see myself – with somebody or -bodies. We’re sipping something fine and talking about what was, is and what just may be. We’re sitting and listening for one another, as we listen to the water close by. Just over a little bit away the water is moving – not stuck, not frozen but moving. Splashing and gurgling. We can hear the water singing her old, familiar melody reminding our hearts, “this too shall pass.” And even if these chairs are here just for me and no living human is with me, in her picture I feel the companioning that is here. Birds and squirrels. Ancestors remembered. Hope sits here when I enter into Beth's picture.
Thank you, Beth. Thank you for your heart and mind and artist’s eye. Thank you for this picture – and for reminding me today: it just takes a nudge to move on. With a friend’s picture, a friend’s laugh or hug – when we are open to see – we can be reminded at all the best times that hope is always with us. Sometimes it's sitting right there beside us.
Working as a Hospice Chaplain, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.