The Winters Of Our Lives

“I see trees so green, red roses too,
I see them bloom for me and you.
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”
(1968) “What A Wonderful World” Recorded By: Louis Armstrong Composers: Robert Thiele & George David Weiss

Me, being more of a landmark hunter while driving, never even noticed. It was my very observant wife who rang out the news as we pulled into the driveway toward the garage earlier this month. It was a sad moment.

It had been an average sleepy weekday for the most part, when we decided we would treat ourselves to one of our favorite Tex-Mex restaurants for dinner. (For those who may not recognize the word, I will define. Tex-Mex is more of a Texas altered fare of Mexican food. Real Mexican food is not so desirable to the average American palate. Still, if you like tripe, cow tongue, goat, mole sauce, or cactus on your plate, then you may enjoy some authentic Mexican dishes. We enjoy whatever we grow up eating.) We had a pleasant dinner. The clock told us it was time to go home and catch the new episode of, “This Is Us”.

It was about dusk, but light enough to see details. Arriving back at the house we turned onto the driveway. The headlights brightened up the garage doors a bit more than the setting sun. That’s when she said, “It looks like that corner tree didn’t survive the February freeze.” I had not noticed this smaller tree wasn’t blooming like all the others.

(Don’t be fooled by the splash of green on the right side of the photo. That is a branch from our neighbor’s tree leaning over for a photo bomb.)

Our place isn’t a large strip of land, but we do have 12 trees. We have 4 large, older trees in the backyard, some mid-sized, and some even smaller. By the way, the further you drive west in Texas, the less trees you will find. Then there are all of the various plants and flowers decorating the property. My wife is a green-thumbed lady. She should have been a landscaper. It’s a bit astonishing, most everything survived the freak wintry zero degree blast we received in Texas, which shutdown our state for a couple of weeks in February. Many Texans are still recovering from all the frozen calamity.

Photo: A freak ice tornado over the frozen Lake Lewisville, about six miles north of us.

Much of the plant life here has been delayed a tad due to the winter storm from two months ago. Even the grass on our lawns hesitated to wake up. Even so, I find myself cocking my head while gazing at the brown leaves still clinging to the branches of our dead tree. Why THIS tree? We have another one just like it, although bigger, on the opposite corner at the front of the house and it thrives. The tree from our neighbor’s front lawn is only about ten feet away, and doing fine. Why was this tree unable to survive? It’s a mystery to me.

I should mention, as I silently mourned the death of our little corner tree, my wife surprisingly said, “Oh well. I never liked that tree anyway. We need to dig it up and get it to the curb.” I didn’t know she felt that way about the tree. In hopes of a resurrection of sorts, I told her we should at least give it the month of May and see if it’s just in shock. Well, here it is, knocking on May’s door, and still no signs of life.

If you’ve not read the details, I wrote about our winter surprise when it occurred back in February. It may help to explain why there’s a corpse in our yard.

Photo: So many lost power, gas, and water. Some for several days.

Life is like that. One day you are experiencing the average comfortable days of life, with all its subject matters and routines, then WHAM!!! Just like that, an unexpected fierce winter hits you blindsided without warning. You know what I mean. My step-daughter, my brother-in-law, and my mother-in-law, all were diagnosed with cancer within a period of four years. Each one of them can tell you how winter blasts can take your breath away just as you are enjoying the warmth of a Texas sun. Yesterday, my kidney doctor gave me some disturbing news concerning a recent lab test result. I shed tears on my way home. Maybe your wintry blast came by way of a disrupting phone call which cracked the windshield of your life. Some might have faced the frozen chill as they held the hand of a dying love in a cold ICU room. Maybe it’s the memory of a sudden loss of a job, a steady income, or fire, or theft. I will tell you, the sudden loss of a marriage, home, and all that goes with it, can be a piercing sharp icicle to the heart and mind. The management of such frozen squalls is the true test. When you can’t trust others, or the fluctuating elements, or even yourself, where do YOU turn?

As for me, I can tell you, I do tend to “freeze-up” when life dishes out a gust of February. This is a trend I’ve discovered about myself. Too many times, I can testify to hitting the bed shortly after the icy hand of trauma grabs me. Please understand, I mean hitting the bed and staying there for days. Call me nuts but it’s happened. Professionals from the medical field tell us depression, depending on the degree, can lead to a shortened lifespan, or even sudden death. It is vital to shake off the icy particles, get out of bed, and begin the journey to healing. If not, we will not produce the way God intended. We become stagnant, bitter, angry, and yes…icy. The leaves on my tree speak volumes about life’s unexpected oppressive winters.

As we dig up the roots, break off the brittle branches, and put the saw to the limbs, I will remember the blooms it once delivered. I will visualize the Robins singing in its branches. I will recall the small shade it cast around the corner in which it lived. In doing so, I will keep in mind my perspective on the harshness of life, and the winters of life still to come. It will be a true test of Who I trust to guide me through such days. For on my own strength, I will shrivel, I will dwindle, I will wither.

Discover His branch, your vine, your bloom of fruit in fuel for the race.

“Because in joy you shall go out and in peace you shall go on, and the mountains and the hills shall break out before you in song, and all the trees of the field shall clap hands!” – Isaiah 55:12 (Aramaic Bible In Plain English)

21 Replies to “The Winters Of Our Lives”

  1. Ice tornado? Wow. I have a penchant for all things weather and water and have never heard of/ seen that before.

    I’ve had a some harsher winters in my life, two in particular stand out. I’m sure there was an ice tornado in at least one of them to boot. God is good, He helped me through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, “ice tornado” was coined by me on the spur of the moment. It was just so odd considering the single digit air over the lake. But, yes, some ice tornados have ripped through my life and family a few times.

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  2. Love this as we have had life’s tornadoes tear into our lives. A few months ago my Mom passed, she was cremated as was my Dad in 09. Only difference was I didn’t get to go home before it was done. We found out a few days before we could go to Ga that my wife has a kidney disease. She struggles with it. Wish I could fix it but I know I can’t. Guys are fixers and sometimes there are things we can’t fix. Absolutely love your writings they touch me in my life more than you know. I keep praying for you as I have been for several years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chuck, all things are filtered through His hands. There is no circumstance, no situation, no tragic ordeal which escapes His view. Yes, even the winters of our lives are within the warmth of His grip. Prayers for you guys. I love your prayers for me. God’s grip – Alan

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  3. Your tree is a perfect picture of the winter storms of life Alan. Sadly your tree dying and noticed when not blooming is easier to notice than the people around us who may be going through a storm not as noticeable in their silence. I tend to be an unaware guy seeing every squirrel in the neighbors yard but missing the unread newspapers by the front door (sigh…another story).

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  4. I am so sorry you got bad news about your kidneys, and don’t blame you for being upset. Those unexpected “storms” can knock us down for sure. The trick is not to stay down….relay on God to walk with you through this difficult time, because he will. He’ll give you the strength you need to cope and to come through this. Meanwhile, you’ll be in my prayers.

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  5. Praying for you with this recent news about your kidneys! The storms of life do hit us hard, and as we age, they hit us harder. God does keep track of every tear, every fear, every hardship we endure. He, our God, is our forever spring, and with Him, no icy winter chill can overtake us. I will keep you constant in my prayers…prayers for healing, comfort in this present storm. And I hope the coming spring days will bring you comfort as well…the other eleven trees in the yard, full of birdsong.

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  6. Those icy times do freeze us in places of sorrow, depression, anxiety, but isn’t it so comforting to know that God still holds us in the palm of His warm, loving hand? We may wither, we may dry up completely, and lose our earthly lives (just like that tree), but He offers us something so much better in eternity. May God give you peace over your latest health test results.

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  7. I can relate to the crawling into bed for days. I wanted to do that last week when I found myself being thrown into a situation that seems to repeat itself over and over in my life. I didn’t this time, but the health effects from the stress have come anyhow and now I’m still dealing with anxiety and depression but trying to hold on to Jesus despite it all. Thanks for the reminder today.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One of the great things about Jesus is His statements of promise. These are healing words of intimacy for me. For you and me, it’s good to write the words down and tape them on the bathroom mirror. Terrific example:. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”. God’s grip, Linda

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