It’s been a rough few weeks. One person in my circle has died, another was in an induced coma and her husband is recovering from blood clots, and someone else had a heart attack. I’ve also received emails from folks I know, asking for prayers for others who are struggling with health issues.

This year doesn’t feel like it’s off to a good start—but I recognize that this could be perspective. Perhaps we take turns and, in other years, this is the reality for other circles of people.

Then there’s what’s happening with the weather—Florida colder than Alaska, major storms bringing sub-zero temperatures and blizzard conditions, while we here in the desert are experiencing many days that are warmer than “normal.”

I often feel that normal no longer exists.

This past week I was editing an article for a client about New Year’s resolutions, and how to set goals for the year ahead. We talked about how resolutions aren’t for everyone. In fact, it feels like I hear less about resolutions every year. We don’t seem to resolve to do things. We are less resolute, perhaps.

Does this need resolving? (Should I resolve to stop with the wordplay?!)

DSC_2592eAs I sense all the unsettledness around me, I feel pulled back to my roots. Winter is a good season for focusing on roots; when snow covers the ground, roots are the only part of the tree that stays active. Everything that’s above ground essentially shuts down.

What are my roots? Nature certainly plays a role, and I do feel more grounded when I have a chance to get outdoors in nature. I hiked with a friend this past week, and have another hike scheduled for the week ahead. I’m grateful for the chance to spend time connecting with God’s creation.

I am also feeling drawn back to the Bible, and not just because of the work I’m doing. Remembering the struggles of prior generations can help us mentally and emotionally take a step back and embrace a broader perspective. Death is a part of life. Winter is necessary for spring. That doesn’t make it easier for those who are struggling and grieving now, but it does help us remember that we are not, ultimately, experiencing anything new.

Are you unsettled as this new year begins? What roots might you draw upon to sustain you in this season?

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