Look at a tree. No look inside a tree. Notice the rings inside its belly. The clear signs of the aging and maturing process. Its birthmark and growth marks.

But look again.

Note the number of rings. Plural. Not one, but many. Clear signs that the tree does not live in a constant state of growth. It rises and then it rests. Stretches out, then goes dormant. Again and again and again.

But look again.

Look more closely at those rings. They’re not identical, but unique. Some are thick and some are thin. Some sit close to their neighbors and some sit farther away. Signs that seasons of growth are also unique. Some pass quickly and some linger much longer.

But look again.

Look at life. Look at the seasons in our own lives. We too pass through these same periods of growth and dormancy. In one season we’re strong—rising tall to present our vivid colors to the bluest of skies—and in the next season we’re halted—sitting vulnerable and bare under the cold clouds that never seem to leave. We love one season and detest the other. We long for one and fear the return of the other.

And yet, when we look at nature…these tree rings…we see the certainty and the necessity of these seasons. We see that life does not live in one season, but in many. Life needs these seasons. It needs to start and stop. To rise and to rest.

And so, if you find your soul in its winter season now, may you find your rest. May you find solace in knowing the need for its appearing in your life. May you know you are not alone. May you find ways to care for your body, mind, and soul. May you accept its presence and not perpetually wish for its departure. May you find your faith. May you examine, wrestle, and embrace the things you believe in. May you talk, listen, pray, yell, whisper, imagine, believe. May you wait. May you remain there.

May you look again.

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