by NANCY HOAG
Trusting the skiing would be excellent and hoping the frequently fickle weather would cooperate, my husband and his brother had pulled out early in the morning. Meanwhile, I had decided to stay home to work, read and set goals because tomorrow we would open our eyes to a brand-new year.
The past year had not gone well; I looked forward to a fresh start. There’d been a painful estrangement from my son. My youngest daughter, married just over a year and now with her first baby, struggled with unexpected changes and too little money. Then my grandmother died, and a family member had announced he and his wife would be divorcing.
Meanwhile, my husband had prayed and applied for his present position, but suddenly he was questioning his decision and talking about our going somewhere else. We’d been here before—staying, moving and moving again. But what if I couldn’t do it this time? Maybe I had been stuffing my sadness and even anger for far too long; maybe I really had been asked to make one too many moves. Worse, what if I would not be snapping out of the blues I did not want to label Depression?
“What I need today is a little space and quiet,” I whispered to my spouse.
Giving me one of the hugs I so often seemed to need, my husband made it clear he understood. So he would pack his lunch and his brother’s, and then they would be off to ski the hill while I retreated to my study up under the eaves.
Sitting quietly in my wicker chair, I recalled all the promises I’d made to myself about not giving in to the doubt and down days that had too often plagued me. “You’ve worked this out before, and you can do it again,” I said, wrapping myself in my oldest sweater. Hadn’t God always been faithful? Hadn’t He seen me through other seasons when I’d considered giving up?
The answer to both questions was yes. Yes, God had always been faithful. And, yes, just about the time I’d think I could no longer cope, I would rediscover life really was so very good as the clouds lifted and the sun had come out.
Sitting quietly in my wicker chair, I recalled all the promises I’d made to myself about not giving in to the doubt and down days that had too often plagued me.
Only now—in my private retreat—I had spotted a foul-looking, foreboding fog that had bumped up against the mountain to creep over, down and across the snow-packed peaks and runs. No doubt my skier would be hitting the slopes about now, and because I’d also been there, I knew he would be thinking the entire Rocky Mountain Range had been swallowed up in merciless weather. The wind would be whipping, the unpleasant gusts biting and blue-nose cold. Maybe my spouse and his brother would be thinking they might as well head for home.
But from my window, the mountains seemed close enough to touch, and I longed to throw open the sash—and then I would call to my husband as I’d once called to my children when they were about the business of playing in the dark. “Don’t quit!” I would call out.
“Don’t quit,” I said for just me—because very soon there would be a blue sky sweeping in behind the heaviness that seemed to have entirely taken over and ruined what was to have been my husband’s day. “This is the day that the LORD has made!” I longed to sing for my husband, and then I would encourage him with the news that soon he and his brother would be warmed again by a full sun … and the snow would glisten and dance in great plumes of silver as the duo soared down one expert run and then another.
Drawing my knees up and tucking my feet, I laid my head back into my chair. “And about me…” I whispered. Hadn’t I also become an expert of sorts at making these “runs” to follow my husband’s work and to fit in as we felt God had directed? Wouldn’t I also soar above any of these disappointing setbacks if I simply hung on?
Life is like that. It bumps up against us like winter and brings with it sick babies, an angry offspring, disillusionment, depression, divorce. But just as my spouse has skied other days in bitter weather and learned to wait it out, so would I keep going and, in due time, see the sun shine again.
There are many things we can actively do to feel better when we find ourselves in a depressed state. Sometimes our decisions and behavior can change our state of mind. Sometimes we need a professional to help us see how we can change to bring happiness back into our lives. Changing our state of mind can actually change our circumstances, too.
And for those of you who’ve been buffeted by what you can’t seem to do a thing about? Those of you who are on the verge of giving up?
To you, I open my window and call, “Hang on! Be strong! Be courageous! Storms last for a little while, and then…”
NANCY HOAG is a freelance writer from Montana. Though partially rewritten, “Storms Pass, So Hang On!” was excerpted from the book by the same title (“Storms Pass, So Hang On!” Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1994) with author Nancy Hoag’s permission.