It’s twenty degrees and the girl next door is sitting in a sweatshirt on her back deck. She is smoking and watching her dog jog back and forth on his runner. I am pouring coffee and notice for the first time that she is pregnant.
A girl from my children’s bus stop comes to our door more often these days. She is three years older than my oldest and plays mostly with my six year old. She is endless energy and movement, constant chatter, and I can’t help but wonder how much is to distract from whatever is lurking beneath the surface. Hurt. Fear. Something at home. I have no idea, but I sense something amiss.
In my social media feeds, colds and sickness have strangled so many friends and family to their knees.
In the periphery of my life, there is fog. There is gray. There are relationships breaking, work stress or jobs in the balance, terrible diagnoses, heavy hearts, blankets of depression.
This is winter.
I am coughing. It’s the remnants from the cold that tore through my house two weeks ago, rattling through my body as it leaves us. It is worse at night, shaking me from sleep, keeping Vinnie and I both awake. The other night, in desperation, I found an old bottle of (not yet expired, but soon) prescription cough syrup. The good stuff. The don’t drive a car, say goodnight world, stuff.
Two teaspoons later, I laid in bed and when sleep still would not find me, I prayed for it. And when I couldn’t pray for myself anymore, I prayed for my family. And when I couldn’t pray for my family anymore, I prayed for my friends. And when I couldn’t pray for my friends, I prayed for this terrible winter. For the cold and lonely and the ill and the sad.
For the single girl next door, and the child down the block and for the hearts that are breaking and relationships that are failing, for all those that the hope-filled groundhog can’t offer any comfort.
For a little sunshine, a little warmth, a little nod that lets us know, spring is coming.
Because, it is.
It can’t be winter forever.