A Springtime Winter: Learning to Be During COVID19

“Winter preserves and strengthens a tree. Rather than expending its strength on the exterior surface, its sap is forced deeper and deeper into its interior depth. In winter, a tougher, more resilient life is firmly established. Winter is necessary for the tree to survive and flourish.”

Thomas Merton 

It is March 20, 2020 and we have officially entered the season of Spring.  Spring promises blossoming flowers, sunny days, new life.  Yet we are in midst of uncertainty, fear, and feelings of death.  Fear of actual death, and the death of what we hold on to for our security and comfort – for our survival.  Schedules, routines, income, jobs, health, hobbies, toilet paper, purpose.  What was normal yesterday can’t even be accessed today.

We cannot control the situation, others’ reactions, our employers’ responses, our financial investment, our family’s well-being, etc. 

So we sit.  And wait.  And hunker down. And pray.

This week our spring break trip to the mountains got cut short.  So now that I am home, I am finding that I am mindlessly scrolling through social media, not sure what I am looking for.  I have feelings of guilt and laziness as I see other yoga instructors offer online classes, or at least words of wisdom.

But the truth is, I am tired.  I am uncertain. And I am not motivated to tell the story otherwise.

And, I believe in what Merton said above.  Because I have experienced it.  The only way to flourish, is to go deep in the winter time.  To reflect.  To rest.  To be.  

I don’t believe God caused this virus to occur.   But I do believe God works through all things.  So I will attempt to trust the pace of slow, give my soul what it needs to rest, sit in the reality of this winter time we are experiencing, and look for signs of spring.  The sun shining.  A fish jumping.  My dog snoring.  A laugh with my kid.  A deep conversation about theology and politics with my teen.  

I will “be”.  I will not strive to “do.”  Because from a place of being, when it’s time, we can do immeasurably more than we ever imagined.  

Before we were evacuated from Colorado this week, I took a walk in the snowy pine-tree filled forest.  Some of the pine trees were dead.  A few years back a pine beetle struck the rocky mountains hard – and many beautiful pine trees suffered.  Yet, to my surprise, there were several new baby pine trees coming up through the snow.  Where there was death, new life begins.  

I will believe that on the other side of this is not just a life of survival, but of flourishing. 

Angie Winn has spent over 25 years consulting, coaching, and training leaders and organizations to thrive.  Although her experience is in both for-profit and non-profit realms, Angie’s passion is to work with individuals, leaders, and teams living out their call and engaging with vulnerable communities.  Through a framework she designed called “stability in motion”, Angie offers coaching, consulting, workshops, yoga sessions, and retreats to individuals, leaders and teams in both her Orlando and Colorado-based retreat spaces, as well as at client locations.  Angie is a follower of Jesus, has a heart for social justice, and has a family of two teen boys, a lab, and a husband. Connect with her at winnsummitstrategies.com and loftonmain.com, Facebook, Instagram, and at her blog.

*header photo credit: Fabrice Villard