Winter blows in its last hurrah today bringing that wicked cold that cuts bone. The last vestiges of illness cling to lungs and throat and steal energy. But there are snowdrops and crocuses, the days are lengthening and the light is getting in.
In my period of reflection and withdrawal during Lent I have been working on my resilience – hard to do when you get chopped off at the knees by illness. An idiom that keeps coming to mind is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the idea that when a person has had enough and finally breaks, it is often a minor thing that is the tipping point. On more than one occasion over the past nearly two years, I have shouted, either to myself or someone dear, that’s it, I can’t take any more.
Of course, you can shout it all you like but shouting makes no material difference. You still have to live the day you think has broken you. What amazes me in my most broken moments is that somehow and from somewhere I find strength. We do have deeper reserves of courage, strength and resilience than we know and only when these are tested do they reveal their quality.
Like an overladen camel or any beast of burden, we carry a lot through our lives and sometimes it is hard to keep moving and seemingly impossible to lighten the load. I don’t have any answers to this, only my own experience, and I know I’m lucky. I’m not homeless, I’m not fleeing a war, I’m not facing a life-threatening illness or situation. I am able to count my blessings as well as my burdens and to have the certainty, that is more reassuring than anything else, that all things pass.