Excerpts from Be Not Afraid, p. 140-142
We forget that the life of love is like the seasons – that there is spring and there is the harshness of winter. We forget that winter is important too, that nature needs to sleep, that frost is necessary for the rebirth of spring. There is the season of rain and the dry season; each complements the other.
We must go through winters of suffering, through times when prayer is hard and people no longer attract us, but spring is not far away. A death in the family, a failure in work, a sickness which brings a new way of life, an unfaithful friend, all these are wounds to the heart that take us into a period of darkness. This darkness is important. We must learn to be strong and peaceful in darkness, not fighting it, but waiting. We must learn to accept this winter as a gift from God, and we will discover that the snow will melt and the flowers come up.
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28)
We must learn to live through the winter, for it is a profound part of any relationship. No community of people is really born until it has worked through tension and aggression. It is when we have worked through these – whether we are a community, husband and wife, or collaborators in work – that we find each other in a new way.
All of us go through seasons of “winter,” whether we are willing to admit it or not. It can feel that no one else goes through them, making it difficult to give oneself grace. We need to experience the darkness so we can better appreciate the light. The darkness is here to challenge and teach, even if it may not feel like learning in the moment.