The Weary Season
We have the seasons—Summer, Winter, Fall and Spring—but we have other kinds of seasons, too. Ones that are joyful and ones that sorrowful. Ones that try our souls (and sanity) and ones that send our souls soaring.
Still, we have other seasons that are harder to define in a single word. The one I want to focus on today is the Weary Season.
Oh, there are others. Times when we teach, learn, are tested for some larger purpose so we’re prepared and protected for future trials. But the weary season has sharp focus now. It is one less defined because it isn’t just a weariness of the body, but of the mind and body and spirit. It’s as if everything conspires to knock us to our knees and keep us there for the duration.
We’ve all experienced times in our lives where we’ve felt beaten down and just so tired of being sick and tired that we’re depleted and we can’t seem to muster the crumbs of ourselves to pull ourselves up and out of the abyss. What’s the abyss?
I’m heartened and dismayed at the question. If you’ve never been there, you may be confident that at some time you will be. If you’ve ever been there, you know that dark and lonely, hellish place too well and hate it with a passion and never want to go back. The abyss reflects everything wrong, bad, going poorly, and offers no hope of any change so that anything can or will get better. It sees no light at the end of the tunnel. It sees only darkness and misery. It is, the absence of hope. The death of dreams. The assassination of inspiration. It is being so lost and so empty you can’t begin to believe that you ever again will know anything good or even marginally not good.
Understand, the weary season isn’t depression. It’s beyond depression. With depression one can reason that nothing good lasts forever, but nothing bad can either. With the weary season, there is no good. Only bad and, overwhelmed by it, you can’t begin to see anything beyond it.
When we encounter troubles or trials, we typically have another area of our lives where we take refuge. For example, life at work isn’t good, so we endure and struggle through, but at the end of the day, we go home and life is better there. We heal at home. And when troubles are at home, we heal at work. Or with friends. Or at church. Or with a group where we share common interests. There is someplace or some area in our lives where we find respite, and we can feel joy and laugh, or at least see beyond misery. This helps renew us and gives us the strength and fortitude to continue to cope with the challenges so that when we return to them, we can approach solutions to them from a more balanced place.
But during the weary season, there are troubles at every turn—at home, at work, in our groups, with our friends, and often with our health. Because our mindset and emotions take heavy tolls on our health, and when our health is diminished so too is our mindset, the combination makes our ability to cope with everything else harder.
So we’re in this weary season and we feel bad, nothing’s going right, and we slide down the slope into the abyss. It’s dark and empty and we hate it, but we have no idea how to get out of it. What do we do?
Some seek the advice of family or friends, coworkers or group members—people we trust who might be able to help. Some seek professional assistance, and the value of that shouldn’t be diminished. And some seek treatment for the symptoms, believing that what’s happening is self-inflicted or inflicted by others.
Often, though, the reason for the weary season isn’t the result of others’ actions or even our own. Sometimes it’s simply that stuff happens, it impacts us, and that nudges or slams us down the slope.
One thing happens, then another and those two set off a third. With each something, we feel more and more overwhelmed. And then starts the mental frenzy of every insecurity we’ve ever had playing hardball to kick us a little harder, because it’s never easier to impact our minds or emotions than when we’re already engaged in battles.
It’s only with the clarity of hindsight that we see good came from the trials or troubles. We need time and space to see it, but eventually, we do. We gained new insight, a new skill, learned something new about ourselves.. We found out that we are stronger than we thought we were and we can keep pushing to get through tough times.
I have a little sign on my desktop. It reads: All is well with my soul. Now why, you ask, is that significant? Because that’s where the healing begins.
How we view our troubles determines how we face or approach or attack them. What kind of solutions we seek. How we implement those solutions when we’re weary to bone or depleted. If we’re settled at soul level, then our mindset changes. It’s not hopeless or destructive. It’s hopeful. Constructive. We sense that return of hope and it drives our emotions. Anyone who has ever faced a problem feeling hopeless understands the value of feeling hopeful.
The problem is still the problem, but how we perceive it and address it is very different. That makes it certain the outcome too will be different. And that makes getting right at soul level critical to mustering the crumbled resources we have left—there are always crumbs—and shaping them into some tool that aids us in crawling out of the abyss.
If all is well with the soul, it helps repair the mind, the emotions, and then all three—spirit, mind and body—work in concert to heal the body.
Look, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you can pull yourself up out of anything. That reading words on a card on your desktop will restore you. Or that it won’t be hard to get out of the abyss. I will tell you that to heal, you must want to heal. You must believe healing is possible. And you must be willing to do the work required to heal.
Have you ever had surgery? If so, you know getting up and walking is key to getting well. Moving builds strength, appetite, endurance. And you need all three to restore yourself. The first time you try to get up, it hurts. It’s slow. It’s hard. It’s such a struggle you’re apt to break into a cold sweat at just rolling over and sitting up on the side of the bed. But you do it. Then next time, you put your feet on the floor, and stand. You might get dizzy, see spots before your eyes. Your mouth might go dry and you might want to cry or scream because you’re in pain. But you do it.
The next day, you roll a little easier, sit up a little faster, stand up with cringes but not shooting pains. And you walk. Maybe to the door of the hospital room, or down the hall. You fear you’re so tired you might not make it back to your hospital bed. But you do. And each time you force yourself—force yourself—to get up and move, you’re a tiny bit less sore, a tiny bit less dizzy, see a few less spots—and you walk just a little further.
That’s how you get out of the abyss. You work at it. You resolve yourself to the discomfort, knowing that if you persist, the season of pain and challenges will weaken and you will grow stronger.
Life beats up on us all. Sometimes we bring about the challenges we must face, but sometimes they are out of our control. That doesn’t mean we endure them and suffer through them for nothing. No, it means that we’re adding a layer of resolve and determination to our foundation. Digging our personal well of assets, tools, and coping skills a little deeper, so when we need to dig deeper, we have them, we have those added tools in our store house.
Some say the weary season is a merciless season. But I think if you endure one, if not when in it, on the other side of it, you see that it is merciful. Not fun. Not enjoyable or pleasant. But merciful in that you gain needed preparation to assist you in future or to prevent you from making a mistake that as a direct or relatable result of what you’ve learned to avoid that mistake, you will recognize in time to protect yourself. My mother used to call these things “small mercies.” Granted, they didn’t feel small at the time, but the benefits they provided were often huge, so I guess that balanced things out.
We all know that it is when we’re weary and trouble is pounding us from all sides that our mettle is tested. It’s then when we discover our character. What we can endure and remain upright. It’s not when things are running along great and we’re gliding through life. That we have those gliding seasons well might be a reward for enduring the weary seasons. Or maybe they’re rest areas on our life’s journey. The place we gather and process what we’ve gained and best come to know ourselves.
I know the weary season tries the soul. I also know if all is well with the soul, then all can be made well and whole. And there is a peace in knowing it. Because just like with the post-surgery walking and gaining strength, with each weary season we encounter, we gain emotional and spiritual strength. And wisdom. And hope. Because we know that weary seasons, like all seasons, come and go. And this one too shall pass.
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© 2016, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest releases are: The Marked Star and In Case of Emergency: What You Need to Know When I Can’t Tell You (nonfiction). She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. KNOW IT FIRST! Subscribe to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!