Dear January

Dear January, 

Even though you valiantly carried me into the new year, untethering me from 2020, I have remained indifferent. You may be shiny and new, but my heart hasn’t forgotten December— all dressed up with its lights, its garlands, its cheer. Why must you be so gloomy gray?  You feel oppressive and dismal to me, forever reminding me of the weary continuum that drones on. I thought that by now I would have settled into routines that bring comfort, but feel in perpetual limbo, still waiting to land. Everyone else seems hurried to put Christmas back into the box and tuck it under the staircase. In their frantic efforts to clean-out and move on, the nativity darkens as if it's merely a final scene before the credits roll.  Its light and hope still present, but as I slog on through your days in silence, I wonder: “how much longer?" My questions seem louder than ever--and my impulse is to search for the nearest exit even when we’ve just started.

I must admit as I take your hand, my affections slowly begin to shift, though I do not understand.  There is a part of me left behind and better left alone. But, I keep chasing familiar, trying to have my own way. I keep seeking after comfort even though you implore me to accept the task of spinning straw into gold. The grass isn’t greener. There are no magic solutions, heroes, or cavalries coming to alleviate. It’s just more trenches, dense forests and dark tunnels to navigate, and yet I am learning how to find my way in the dark, learning how to close my eyes and be led from the cords inside, from the command to follow, whether accompanied or not.

I want to feel angry, but you say “who are you angry with?” “What good will it do?” A new year is surely a gift and why begin it with a fight? Your hushed whispers have a way of making me think long and hard. In fact I can’t STOP thinking at all, and most of the time I feel trapped in my own head. Rather than fight against the currents that swirl in this river of time, maybe I let them carry me along. I can’t over-power them, they are too strong, just like God’s ways are higher than our own.  Each new day is actually forward progress, and eventually time will push me out of the raging storm into safer waters. With gentle wisdom, you caution me not to hope in beginnings or ends, because water can be an unpredictable beast. It can rain down and rise without ample warning. The more important goal is to hang on to what is steady and sure and true, and let it buoy me. 

I suppose silence is your greatest offering and I am thankful for it. You are what you are, hours and days and weeks of thin wispy breath hovering around us, until the earth warms and blossoms break open again. I seem to recognize you underneath your guise of shadows.  You are a weathered bridge from old to new.  You are a gust of wind to my hollowed out and empty hopes. You bid me to write the story, the narrative that’s mine, not let the story write me.

We have a few more weeks to work until the morning I wake up and you have left me In February’s keeping. You will become part of my past and I will think of you with fondness although we had a rough go if it. You have been a quiet soul beside me as I continue to wrestle with the current reality. Your solitude helps me to hear my heartbeat, and keeps me clinging to the life-line that throbs in my chest--the line that keeps me grounded and watchful for miracles.

Sincerely yours until February,

This Covid-fatigued soul


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