By: Valerie Bryant Bennett
For many people, winter represents a time of cold dismal days…simply a cycle of seasons that must be endured until the grass turns green again, and trees clothe themselves liberally with new leaves. On my way to visit Whitestone this week, I passed through wheat-colored fields and forests of naked trees, and I realized that winter, for me, is a calming time. The fields rest from their production of grass for livestock and crops for people; the trees drop every leaf they have nurtured and clung to, relieved of all duties to shelter birds, or shade lethargic cattle.
I often arrive as a guest at the Whitestone Inn full of stress and cluttered thoughts, worn-out from tasks done and un-done. But something happens here that quietly brings a sort of “winter” to my soul. I sleep soundly, and wake to eat breakfast against a backdrop of rolling hills and Watts Bar Lake, and I discover that somehow, my anxieties have lifted. Like the trees, I’ve dropped all those worries and responsibilities that I’ve held onto, and my heart and head are emptied, for a season, of the belief that I must maintain control.
A tree is no less a tree because it stands serene and bare, sensing that this season, too, is part of God’s design. Somehow Whitestone “winters” my spirit, and I leave refreshed, and ready to meet the challenges ahead.