Each year, we put on another layer. It starts as barely noticeable--a new problem, learning a new skill, making a new friend, a new exercise program. We don’t think much about it. We don’t know it’s a layer yet, but we water it just the same and give it plenty of sun. In the beginning of the year, we always make promises to the sun. This time I’m going to take care of me. This time I’m number one. Nothing’s going to get me down this time.
|Layers of growth.|
Time keeps passing. More happens--a loved one dies, cross-country move, severe illness, victim of crime. Now we’re in the thick of it, and we have forgotten about the promise. If someone reminds us of it, we become callous and angry because there’s no time for promises to the sun. We tell ourselves that anyone who has time for promises to the sun isn’t working hard enough. The burden is monumental now, but we pick it up and shoulder it.
Time passes still. We build a hard layer around ourselves to insulate us from anymore shocks this year. We come up with ways to handle our difficulties, and those ways always involve silence and solitude. The layer thickens and protects us, and eventually we handle all or most of the burden we were carrying. We become more comfortable. We're insulated. We sleep for a while until we feel better.
Then we remember the sun and the promises. But this time it’s different, we tell ourselves. This time we are bigger and stronger. The sun feels so warm and inviting. It’s time to make promises again! It’s time to reach for the warmth. It’s time to start another layer.