In the streets they cry out for lack of wine; all joy has disappeared and cheer has left the land….
Last week, the wind chills dipped well below zero in Minneapolis. Despite the bitter cold, the sun began shining on Wednesday afternoon (hooray!) and I decided to go for a walk. Dressed in a down jacket, mittens, and scarf, I strolled through my neighborhood, happy to be free from the confines of my home office. My breath froze into a white mist as I passed a rose bush at the end of my block. The bush looked like it was shivering in the wind, its branches bare and thorny. Brushing the snow from it’s branches, a memory came to mind.
Eight months earlier, it was a warm summer morning. As the sun was rising, I jogged down my street, taking in the beauty of the green grass, colorful gardens, and chirping birds. “Everything is blooming” I thought.
Soon, I passed two elderly women walking arm in arm. It was obvious that one of the women was blind; her gaze was completely unfocused. As the two of them strolled merrily, talking and laughing, they paused to smell a rosebush covered with blossoms. It was the same bush that was now weighted down with snow.
“The roses look like wine” the seeing woman said. I watched as she handed her blind companion a rose with ruby-colored petals. A sweet, flowery fragrance filled the air.
“Have a great day” I told them as I jogged passed. “You too….” they called out together.
If you are journeying through winter, blinded by loss and despair, take heart. Spring is just around the corner. In God’s perfect time, the ice of grief will melt. Your prayers will blossom into answers. The beauty of new life will come.
Nancy Jo Sullivan is an inspirational author and speaker. She has published with Random House, Guideposts, Readers Digest, and the Huffington Post. Her newest book, Small Mercies, was recently released by Loyola Press. In the book, she writes about God’s presence in motherhood, family, and love. Through poignant reflections, she recalls how she found God even in her darkest moments, especially in the months that followed the death of her daughter with Down’s syndrome. She reminds the reader that God is present in “every mess, burden, and blessing.” The mother of two grown daughters, Nancy Jo resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She loves hanging out with her daughters, teaching writing classes to kids with special needs, jogging, making spinach smoothies, and of course, writing about her imperfect life.