The winter can make us wonder if Spring was ever true.
-- Jason Gray, "Everything Sad Is Coming Untrue"
She wanted to find a way, like Bartimaeus, to turn pain into beauty, but she scarcely believed the world held beauty at all, much less that she could create or add to it.
-- from The Fiddler's Gun by A.S. Peterson
For me, it is not April, but January that is the cruelest month. I've always had a rough time with this month. Part of it is the cold: winter with no Christmas to look forward to. Grey skies and chill winds make me want to stay in bed forever. In February, the shortest of months, I can visualize Spring. I know it's coming, if I can just hold on. But when December's clock chimes its last, January looms long, with or without the midnight kiss.
The other part, is the let down, Christmas high followed by New Year's anxiety, followed by nothing. What is there to celebrate in January? Important people were born, but they are no longer with us, and their lofty dreams, no matter how much progress we make, can not be fulfilled by human hands.
The last bit is the most difficult to describe. I mentioned New Year's anxiety, and that's exactly what it was for me growing up. The week between Christmas and New Years was always filled with talk of the end, of not just the year, nor the month, nor even the holiday season. Rather it was the end of it all. The evangelical obsession with the most dramatic climax of all time: rapture. Maybe it will be New Year's Eve, the year 2000, blah-biddy, blah, blah, blah. I've never been excited about any of the possible scenarios. A creaky old rocking chair, in front of a crackling fireplace is the only exit I dream of making when the time comes. And I generally try not to dream about it at all.
Due to events beyond my control, this particular January feels like the worst ever. Eleven days in, here I sit. Cold, tired, and moody. Wormwood's whispers are deafening. I still believe flowers can sprout beneath these headstones, but what do we do while we wait? Grace must come first. The beauty is not born solely of human hands. Do you know the secrets of the underground? Can you please show me how to see God's hand working? What on earth is he saying to the seed? I need to hear it.