I was reminded this morning of something I said when I addressed the World Congress of Families a few years ago. I don't believe we are in full blown winter yet, but nature and history cycles teach us it will come.
"This is the day of harvest. It is a day to thrust in your sickle and reap with diligence because you know what follows Fall's harvest. Already you may be seeing signs of approaching winter. The leaves are changing color and starting to drop off the trees. There's a bit of a chill in the air. But you don't have to be afraid. Within the harvest are lessons on how to survive harsh winters. And if you've been wise, you will have stored enough to sustain yourself through cold winter months when nothing grows. Winter can be a time to rest from heavy labors, to wrap up in a warm blanket, sit in front of a fire and reflect on things that really matter. Even on the coldest day of winter is found great beauty. Some of the greatest masterpieces of literature, art and music have come from history's winters. And if the winter's day seems especially long and dark and dreary, you can hold on to the hope and promise of spring, because spring always follows winter. Always. It will be a time of new beginnings; of clearing away rotting leaves and digging new furrows in the earth to plant the seeds saved from the fruits of fall's harvest. And there will be fresh scented breezes."
One important lesson we are learning through WEH is how to keep hearts from failing in difficult times. Don't underestimate the power of small and simple means: a story, poem, a song, a picture, a simple walk outside.
"Grapes must be crushed to make wine. Diamonds form under pressure. Olives are pressed to release oil. Seeds grow in darkness. Whenever you feel crushed, pressed, or in darkness, you're in a powerful place of transformation. Trust the process. Trust God."
"Lord of all pots and pans and things, Since I've not time to be A saint by doing lovely things or watching late with Thee, Or dreaming in the dawn light or storming Heaven's gates Make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates. Although I must have Martha's hands, I have a Mary mind And when I black the boots and shoes--, Thy sandals, Lord, I find. I think of how they trod the earth, What time I scrub the floor Accept his meditation Lord, I haven't time for more. Warm all the kitchen with Thy love; and light it with Thy peace Forgive me all my worrying and make my grumbling cease. Thou who didst love to give men food, in room or by the sea Accept this service that I do, I do it unto Thee."