Sacred Sorrows is pleased to welcome back Susen Hickman, a contributing writer who lives in Northern California with her poodle, Woody. She is the mother of Michele who passed to heaven at the age of 17, and has two other children - Mike and Matt, and a grandchild, Max. In addition to her involvement with several supportive, non-profit organizations, Sue has published one book - a memoir about the loss of both her husband and daughter.
With all the rain, wind, and bitter cold mornings that we've been having in California, it's no wonder that sometimes my heart is experiencing a winter season of its own. When the gray sky doesn't clear for days and days on end, it's easy for me to slip into mild depression or feel a little melancholy. And then the inevitable - I can't help but think of my loss. It doesn't matter that my beautiful daughter left many years ago. That winter darkness still sits squarely in my heart and rises to the surface from time to time.
It's in times like these that I go into my study and search my bookcase for a book of poetry or reflections.
If you're in a winter season right now, or even if you're not, I'd like to share some beautiful words I came across while reading a book of blessings written by John O'Donohue, who is an Irish teacher and poet. It brought me a glimmer of hope that spring will come again.
... Within the grip of winter, it is almost impossible to imagine the spring. The gray-perished landscape is shorn of color. Only bleakness meets the eye; everything seems severe and edged. Winter is the oldest season; it has some quality of the absolute. Yet beneath the surface of winter, the miracle of spring is already in preparation; the cold is relenting; seeds are waking up. Colors are beginning to imagine how they will return. Then, imperceptibly, somewhere one bud opens and the symphony of renewal is no longer reversible. From the black heart of winter a miraculous, breathing, plenitude of color emerges.
The beauty of nature insists on taking its time. Everything is prepared. Nothing is rushed. The rhythm of emergence is a gradual slow beat always inching its way forward; change remains faithful to itself until the new unfolds in the full confidence of true arrival. Because nothing is abrupt, the beginning of spring nearly always catches us unawares. It is there before we see it; and then we can look nowhere without seeing it.... John O'Donohue
"Because nothing is abrupt, the beginning of spring nearly always catches us unawares."
That's exactly what happened today. I walked out into my backyard to pick up a sun umbrella that had fallen over in the wind. As I breathed in the cool air, I was startled when I could smell a sweet fragrance wafting in the air. I knew without even looking that my Daphne plant had started to bloom, and I was delighted! It did catch me by surprise. With so much rain I could hardly believe it was starting to slowly bloom. It was time.
Sometimes I just need time to come up for air and smell the Daphne. Spring will come.