The contrast between a Finnish summer and winter is profound. The sunny season of summer is underlined by light all through the day - the twilight only brushes the outline of the horizon, and up the sun comes again! The winter, on the other hand, is something else. Where in the summer the sun barely goes below the horizon, winter hardly gives us any of those sweet rays of life-giving goodness.
The winter is long, dark and cold. As much as the Finns enjoy the magical time of summer, they know that the diametrically opposed season, winter, will come inevitably. So it is with life as well.
Yes, my personal negative bias towards winter might be oozing out of my text: I’m a summer guy. But objectively speaking, winter isn’t a bad thing - quite the contrary. If we didn’t have the seasons, the polar ice caps on our planet’s North and South Poles would not be the same; that would be a major problem. Although we’ll not go deeper into the geography of our beloved Earth, we understand that the consistent shifting of seasons is not a bad occurrence. Similarly, our lives have cold and warm seasons. Are they all necessary though?
We love the warm seasons of life. These are the times, when all of our circumstances are favorable towards us. We’re financially stable, have beautiful people around us and have no social issues - they are seasons of overflow. Why wouldn’t we enjoy such seasons? The thing is that these seasons are never permanent. If we wanted summer to stay, we’d need to stop time. Stop time, and you stop growth as well. But if we want lives of ever-increasing adventure, dreams and significance, we need growth. This is where winter seasons come in.
A life-winter doesn’t feel good. It’s a time of mournful silence. The hopes that seemed so possible during the sunny days of summer now feel so distant from reality. It can affect your hope, your joy and your peace. Every one of us knows what a personal winter season looks like. Sometimes winter begins with a chaotic event: something negative that we never expected to happen. Other times it slowly creeps into our lives, eventually enclosing us in its cool and static embrace - we sort of wake up to it. It’s a season of overpowering circumstances - it’s where we feel helpless.
Wouldn’t we just be better off without the cold and dark seasons? I don’t think so. Take it from me, a person who absolutely loves a life of sunny smooth sailing. Who wouldn’t? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have everything you touch turn into success? Are you ready for a reality check…? A life of sustained success, needs a strong character to sustain it. As much as a winter season is an opportunity to fail, it’s also an opportunity to grow. Stretching is painful, but without stretching, we won’t be able to reach the next step we want to take.
I’ve personally felt such freedom, when I’ve changed my outlook on darker seasons in life. It simply isn’t just ”bad”. It’s a season of challenge and developing character. When this shift of attitude takes place in you, the darkness looses much of its potency.
Everyone loves watermelons.
They grow in the heat of summer, so we look forward to it.
Character grows in the cold of winter, so why don’t we change our thinking when it comes to the hard seasons?