If winter is my depression, it has made my seasons of spring all the more beautiful.
My silence hit like a hurricane, and storm after storm came. When spring finally took its turn, it came with subtlety and shy, a hesitant mix of looking back as well as forward. The winter of depression was long; its side effects wanted to remain even longer. Still it comes and goes in that cyclical fashion, like every season does. Still the storms come, as we’re promised. But let me remind you of this: Spring is waiting. The only thing it needs from you is perseverance to see the green that will awaken in its veins, a defiant resolve to move forward one day at a time.
You’ve felt it: Those first mornings when the sun is warm and the birds sing and the green replaces the brown. You’ve appreciated how much sweeter it all seems in April than it does by the time August rolls around. It seems to be a brand new mercy, the first sunrise after a long hibernation. It is like this with springs of the soul, too. My mama’s laugh is so much sweeter now, because my depression used to make her cry. The long, late nights of words spilling across living rooms and hearts communing over coffee are all the more precious now, because I used to shut myself in. And the pages that spill out of me, wanting to write stories of Hope are some kind of rebellious payback to the days my words wore me down with darkness and threats.
I love the warmth of May, the leafiness of June, and the windows-down-driving-days of August. There’s nothing I love more than t-shirts and shorts and flip-flop weather, the sun warm on skin, the memory of winter seeming like a sham. But if I had to choose, I would choose those first few weeks of spring a million times. It is almost too tenuous to hold, but if you look closely you cannot miss those red buds on the trees turning neon green. I lovingly refer to it as “baby spring,” a term that has wormed its way into my heart these last few years.
My history with depression has fostered in me a deep sense of Hope and expectation, and in baby spring I find it screaming the loudest: This was worth the work and the wait and the dogged faith. Give me the garden beds full of color, but also give me those March and April days when only the bulbs have declared their moratorium on winter’s death and are dormant no more, pushing their tiny bodies into a new year. How silent and steady and unassuming the growth is, but it is not missed by me.
Because once upon a time, my growth was not missed by others. I didn’t see it, didn’t find it worth celebrating—but celebrate we did. Milestones. Months and years without self-harming. Finding my words again. Finding my laugh again. Reaching out to others. Reaching out to God.
And so now I go searching for the growth, and my heart rejoices in the baby steps of spring much like my people rejoiced in my own baby steps.
As the wind howls outside the window, I wince for those bulbs coming up in my garden. They have their work cut out for them, but they remind me of a lesson I already know: Death doesn’t have to get the final word. The only way you get that second chance is if you push through the dark and the cold—how they threaten to suffocate, I know—but Hope is birthed on the other side of that long silence.