As we continue our discussion of winter seasons today, I want to acknowledge that they often feel lonely. Maybe you have gone from being in a place of leadership or connectedness to one of isolation, and you feel cut off from the people who used to bring you joy. Perhaps it was a move, the loss of a job, a death, or a falling out with family — no matter what the cause, loneliness can haunt you and change your view of your life and circumstances. For example, a place or activity that once filled you with delight can suddenly be a painful reminder of what you’ve lost. It hurts.
I love Yosemite; it’s truly one of the most beautiful places in the world and I feel blessed to have it “in my backyard.” I go there at least once a year, typically in the spring, summer or fall, when the sun is out, there are people everywhere and maybe even some traffic. A number of years ago, my Grandpa Scott passed away at a healthy old age, and he just happened to live in Coarsegold, which is a little town right outside of Yosemite. I drove up there for his funeral, and I decided to go a day early and spend the night in the valley; but this time, it was winter. Half dome was covered in snow, there were no cars on the road, and there wasn’t a single soul in sight. It was eerie and beautiful all at the same time.
Friend, this is how the winters of our lives can be: they are both eerie and beautiful. Loneliness is a reality in such times, but it can be a blessing. Just as fallen snow brings a blanket of peace and quiet to the earth, the dampening silence of your difficulties can strip away noise and quickly crystalize what’s important. Introspection brings an inner tranquility that couldn’t be fashioned in a spring or summer season. There is a blessing in your winter — even in your loneliness — that God wants to reveal to you. He is with you in those moments, making you more like Him, so that future seasons of warmth will have even greater joy and purpose!