Suite d’espoir, Winter 2

We are partakers in the mystery of life, not controllers of it.

Extended seasons of waiting can silently erode our hope. Our hearts ache for change—in the world, in a loved one, in ourselves—and yet life remains frozen in the same familiar places.

Life doesn’t always give us exactly what we want or long for, but accepting what can’t be changed is the first step to finding a new hope.

Deafening silence is not incompatible with God being mightily at work in realms beyond the scope of our vision. Will we wait today in the stillness, full of holy possibility that new life will yet spring forth?  

The gentleness of a winter’s afternoon sun makes it my favorite kind of light. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a summer lover through and through. Born in late-July heat and celebrating every birthday at the Jersey shore, I wait for summer each year with great anticipation.

But the light of a deep mid-winter day fills my heart with a different kind of joy. A joy springing not from activity, but from stillness.

Winter light invites reflection that tills the soil of the mind, restoring wholeness, and preparing us for busier days ahead. In the hush I sense an invitation to quiet my own heart and notice beauty brimming all around me. 

Another heavy blanket of snow gently falls today. It seems an especially appropriate welcome to this year’s Lenten season. The usual hum of life outside is silenced, inviting me to more interior reflections. How will I choose to honor this sacred season this year? 

One year ago, the whole world came to an abrupt halt just a few weeks into Lent, and with that chaos came an abrupt halt to my Lenten practices. Wasn’t I already sacrificing enough navigating the fear of surviving a pandemic? Adding comfort food, drink, and habits seemed more the order of the season than subtracting them from my life. False comfort became my lifeline. 

While some of the fear and restrictions have lifted, life feels far from the expansive, free gift I once took for granted. How do I honor Lent in these times when even the word “Lent” itself evokes images of limits and austerity? 

The silence of this snowy day is my tutor. Perhaps my greatest need right now is to quiet my mind and soul each day and settle into an awareness of God’s personal love for me. Without using words or fancy prayers. Just steeping in God-love. Cross-oriented love. Resurrection love. Could the best Lenten offering of a pandemic-parched soul simply be to quiet my heart long enough to hear the Creator of the universe say to me, “You are my beloved.”

The calendar may read March 1 but spring feels particularly far away today. All the color has been drained from my corner of the world and all that’s left is shadow and reflection. Even the camera could find not a speck of honest color. 

And so we wait. Lost in the shadow, awakening to the reflection. And grounded in the assurance that hope is waiting for us in the shadows to lead us from darkness into glorious light.

Winter’s slumber won’t last forever. New light and life will awaken and refresh our weary souls. Keep holding on.


  1. Nancy O’Neil

    Thank you Bonnie for giving me content to think about in the quiet of the morning. I appreciated the beauty you portrayed giving depth to the HOPE we have in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    • Bonnie O'Neil

      You’re very welcome, Nancy. And you know where I was sitting as I wrote and reflected on the snowy world outside – your favorite “orchid room!”


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