The snow swirls outside, blowing off rooftops and covering old footprints, burying our street in white.
Sam scrapes snow from the driveway early in the morning. I put gas in the car and the wind takes my breath away. We’re a hardy lot in the Midwest, but this time of winter, everyone is complaining about the cold.
As I cut potatoes and carrots into tiny rounds for dinner, I realize I can either embrace what I can’t control or let it control me.
It’s a choice: Each day I can choose either the Light or the darkness.
I can choose to shake my fist at the snow or go out and play in it. I don’t want to be one of those who regret living life—the ones who were too busy complaining about the snow, rather than finding the joy in it.
In her book Regrets of the Dying, Bonnie Ware explains that many people wish they had let themselves be happier in their lives. She says,
Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
It’s not that these people chose to be miserable. Instead they embraced the comfort of the familiar, which didn’t bring the anticipated happiness at all.
It was the fear of change that was the obstacle to their joy.
While dinner roasts in the oven, I begin sorting through a shelf in a closet, finding a whole pile of papers about Silas. I glance through the papers, finding prescription drug instructions, a calendar charting seizure activity, and his speech therapist’s looping handwriting. I hold these papers in my hand, unsure what to do with them.
One fear of those who are grieving is that people will forget your loved one, that it will no longer seem real that they ever existed. Every day I’m reminded that I have one child missing. An empty bedroom reminds me.
These medical documents are one of the few links to Silas’s last years. They are a reminder that he lived; his existence validated in writing. They are not happy memories, but they are familiar, and in an odd way, comforting.
But I also remember he is healed now. He no longer needs a doctor or physical therapy. He doesn’t need injections, medications, or surgery. These medical documents are reminders of his brokenness, but God’s promises remind me that he is healed.
This is choosing the Light over the darkness.
While someone is alive we accept the good and the bad, the healthy days and the sick. . But when they are healed, we don’t have to relive the bad days like a video that replays in our head. We need to remember, My loved one is having another great day in heaven, because everyday is another great day in heaven.
We can live joy in the grief. It’s not dependent on our circumstances.
Keeping our hope in the eternal changes our view of the immediate. It changes the way we see our days.
The snow, glittering in the sunlight like diamonds, reminds me of all that will be made right, that joy can be found even in the bite of winter’s cold.