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Rebecca Faye Smith Galli: Winter views offer a new perspective

Feb. 10, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Winter is here to stay for a while longer, it seems, and so is its power for a new perspective.

The foliage-covered landscape was transformed months ago, its trees stripped of their leaves. Through the woods, now winter-bare, we see distant neighbors' homes that were once hidden Their lights glow at night, giving mute evidence that people are there, busy living out their lives.

As some of us move through this winter, we may unwillingly experience our own transformation. Our homes have been touched by life-altering change and we've been stripped of the comfort of familiar routines. We may have lost loved ones, our health, work, or homes, or even launched our children to college, career or wedded life. At some level, our lives have been reconfigured and suddenly we have time and space we've never experienced before.

The foliage of summer's calm days, when life seemed fuller and gave us security, is gone, released like the leaves that once insulated us. Our predictable lifestyle has changed. Patterns permanently altered. Now, we have to change. We can't go back to what used to be.

And we struggle to find our footing in uncharted territories

Yet, the rawness of this season can wake us up to the priorities that matter. We look up from our altered lives and start seeing things through the barren trees we had never seen before.

An old adage contends, "We cannot see the woods for the trees." But in winter, we can see the woods, and with effort, through them and beyond them to a new view and perspective that may help us live and love and work again. It can be a time of reflection, discovery, and a chance to re-purpose our lives as we face the future.

My father once said, "Pain, like winter, can freeze us or free us."

We allow the pain of change to freeze us when we refuse to refocus and become stuck in a mindset centered on loss.

Or we can let that pain free us by looking through it to new worlds now revealed to us. We can let winter's clarity help us redesign what we have left and allow a new perspective to come into focus.

As my father often said to those he comforted, "God didn't bring you this far to drop you."

That statement can move us from freezing to freedom. And when we start looking through the stripped trees to new views of life, we may not only find beauty and purpose, but also healing.

This column was co-authored and edited by Rebecca Faye Smith Galli, daughter of the late Dr. R. F. Smith Jr., a longtime columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Her email address is rfsgalli@gmail.com.

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