Day 4 of Icejam2011 in Atlanta. Ice everywhere, still. Roads icy, sidewalks icier still. (People in the south don't own snow shovels and it doesn't occur to people to clear their sidewalks, and those who thought about it yesterday or today need jackhammers or pickaxes at least to break through two or three inches of deep freezer ice.) Folks are getting cranky. Even my husband the introvert had to go out today and find some other people to talk to.
Fortunately, we do not have to suddenly adjust to a major life change here. It's sunny today, and even though the temperatures are not predicted to get much above freezing, tomorrow we are looking for a ten degree jump upward. Things will start to thaw and by Sunday all should be back to normal. So we will have had a week of being off-track, sort of like having the flu.
I have been thinking, though, about what happens when we do have a major life change. When things are not going to get back to normal in a week.... a lost job, a death in the family, a health crisis that means changing the way we eat or walk or breathe. This is when we cycle through the stages of grief (denial, bargaining, anger, etc.) before we can get to acceptance. The cycle is more a spiral that loops both backward and forward than a linear progression - one finds oneself back at denial or bargaining again and again. Maybe it will get better. If only, perhaps, if I pray/try/do better/harder. It takes a long, long time for most of us. Some folks never really get beyond despair or anger. I remember a woman who was angry about her divorce and still obsessed with her ex husband's new wife for years. She was a prisoner and could not experience new life - or any life, really - until she could accept the change. It took her several years. Heck, it took me a year just to unpack some boxes when I moved out of my office.
But change comes, and it does most of us good even if we can't imagine that yet. Resurrection happens. The flowers will bloom again after the ice and snow and we will sigh and breathe in deeply the fragrance of new life.