Northwest Alabama has four distinct seasons, with the summer being the most intense. Friends in Alaska say they have three months in a year: July, August, and Winter. We were in the Mayan city of Tulum, Mexico, in February 2009 on a scorching hot day. Our guide there said they had two kinds of weather--hot and hotter.
Our spring is always fantastic, coloring our gray landscape with green and peppering the cold ground with wildflowers. We celebrate new and renewed life around us while we hide from storms. Summer gives us abundant veggies from the garden and long days that let us play outside until nine, fighting mosquitoes and the 98% humidity. We welcome the first cooling breezes of autumn and are astounded with the beauty of dying leaves and the harvest. Then, winter comes. Winter forces us to stay inside, to settle down, to rest.
Our lives go through seasons and changes, just like our planet, and some changes are more welcome than others.
You renew your witnesses against me, and increase your indignation on me; changes and war are against me. Job 10:17
The season of having two little boys was a happy one, when we laughed and grew together. It was also the season of having very little financially, and wishing every day for a better house and car and a time when we didn't have to work every minute of the day. We learned difficult lessons then that will be with us as long as we live.
There have been the trying seasons when we learned that life is not fair, no matter how good you are or how hard you work. We have watched loved ones struggle with cancer and addictions and the pain of knowing. We have buried our parents and grandparents and longed for their wisdom after it was lost. We have known the terror of middle-of-the-night phone calls with bad news. We have known disappointment. It is the stuff of all life, not just ours.
But how could we love spring so much if we didn't experience the winter? The spring always comes.
Ah, the seasons of joy! For us, joy was reaching the time when there was a money left after the bills were all paid, being able to see the sun rise on the ocean and set in the desert, having a house that stayed warm and dry. It was celebrating at two weddings and getting two new daughters, and, eventually, two granddaughters. Joy is having good food on the table and good friends to share it with, good books to read, and good music. Joy is laughter, and joy is hope.