This week was supposed to be marked with the excitement vacation always brings with a family reunion out West.
Instead, I remain home, attempting to check things off my never ending list of assignments for graduate school while juggling clinical days on the side.
If only this situation was an exception…but it’s not. These last months have warranted more “no’s” than “yes’s” to a myriad of things including experiences, events, daily life activities, working, maintaining relationships to the level I want, writing…the list of “no’s” is almost as long as my school to-do’s.
When I realized the family reunion was not going to be feasible no matter how much we wanted it to be — the bitterness and frustration were acute. It was easy to resent the thing I saw standing in the way: graduate school. It is a predictable target as it has been quite the source of stress since beginning last year. Almost daily, I question why I’m putting myself through this and why it is ruining my life (Dramatic much? That’d be a yes. 🙂 ).
In a moment of clarity the other day, after saying yet another no to an opportunity, the phrase a season of no flitted through my thoughts.
A season of no.
What are seasons?
Unique. (At least here in Texas — sometimes spring is one day and sometimes we actually get a week! 😉 )
I’m in a season of “no” but this season is not permanent. It’s not forever. And it too is an opportunity to say yes.
Yes to learning.
Yes to new experiences.
Yes to being challenged.
Yes to being outside my comfort zone daily.
Yes to a future doing what I feel is my calling.
Yes to caring for people who are ill.
Yes to meeting some of the brightest nurses in the country.
Yes to gratitude because I’m even at a point in life where graduate school is not only feasible, but I’m supported 110% by an incredible husband, family, and friends who constantly cheer me toward the finish line.
Seasons of “no” are difficult. Trust me when I say I’m not discounting that. Changes in seasons sometimes bring the promise of spring, but others bring a blizzard so thick you’re not sure you’ll make it through. However, I can’t help thinking about past seasons during this one — seasons where I was able to say yes more often. Seasons that also brought immense growth and learning. One reason I’m doing graduate school during this season is because of a love of teaching others and the doors that an advanced degree will open. This knowledge of my love of teaching would have never happened except for another season of saying yes to unique opportunities presented.
This little space which has furthered my love of the written word and fostered relationships with others across the world would have never been born if not for a season where time for writing was available and the craft encouraged by my family. Yet, for every example like these ones, there are opportunities unable to be embraced because the leaves are slowly changing and a season of no comes swirling through leaving you at a loss….wondering what now?
I don’t know what season you’re currently facing, but what I do know is it is temporary. Whether the sun is shining and birds are singing or the chill is coming — remember that only with seasons of no can we fully appreciate those seasons of yes. Only when we’re going through the winter can we truly thank God for summers. And yet what would the world look like without winter? Without the reset that goes on in nature, without the natural life cycle the seasons bring?
It wouldn’t work.
And neither would life.
It takes all seasons to make up a year.
And it takes all seasons to write this story called life.
If you’re facing a season of no — hold onto hope and make some hot chocolate with me as we practice gratefulness for the past seasons in our lives, the growth this winter holds, and the spring we have faith is right around the corner.