The January Hush

Shhh… can you hear it?

Nothing.

Exactly.

For me, and my tendency toward high sensitivity, the most wonderful time of the year really is here. The carols and bells have stilled. The last of the tree trimmings and fallings have been swept away. The whole world has exhaled goodwill and is ready to inhale fresh.

I love January. If you’d asked me that only a few short years ago, I’d have made a face and told you how boring and cold and dark January can be. How nothing ever happens except it might snow half an inch and cancel school and my routine for a couple of days. Then I listened to myself and my calendar and my aching soul cry for more that is really less—less commitments, less run-around, less worry.

Enter January.

There’s a stillness that comes with frosted mornings and winter-lit skies. All is quiet and reflective, a time for recovering from the holiday hustle bustle, a time for beginning new. Calendars are empty, and you don’t have to rush to fill them. Rooms become lighter when the decorations are down and the old is not quite back up. The days are shorter but the nights are longer and the prospect of fires and good books and hot drinks will carry us through to the other side.

The older I get, the more I see how the Great Creator so perfectly fashioned each season to force us into periods of rest and play and work. I spend more time on my porch these days, and I notice the trees, the endless cycle of bud and bloom and change and fall. I watch for the beauty in the dying and the sleeping and the coming back to a fullness of life.

Winter is meant to be a time of rest for our bodies and our souls. All these great and wonderful gifts technology and science have given us—always a light in the dark, a voice over the miles, a means to our destination—also make us forget. Sometimes, it’s okay to sit in the dark. It’s not a big deal to turn the phone to silent. It’s wonderful to park that vehicle and not move it for an entire weekend.

We are meant to slow down and hunker down and bend down on our knees. When I came to realize I could give myself the gift of January, my whole perspective changed. Now, when Christmas and all its glory goodness overwhelms my planner, I flip forward and look at the blank squares.

I know a rest is coming. I know those days will fill of their own accord with books to read and appointments to keep and deadlines to meet. I know those evenings won’t always be mine. But I also know I have a choice.

I can see January as empty. Or I can see it as waiting. I can see it as a depression. But I choose to see it as a respite.

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