I was a bright child; however, my family would often joke that I had book sense but no common sense. Indeed, the story that I’m about to share from my childhood might make you agree that my elevator didn’t always reach the top floor (no matter how cute or innocent my foibles were)!
I grew up in Fayetteville, NC, and it rarely snowed in the winter. One particular year, we happened to get the white Christmas that I – a 5 year old child – could only dream of. In excitement, I ran to my toy chest and pulled out my little yellow bucket that my mother had purchased for me the previous summer. I ran to the backyard, packed my little yellow bucket with snow, and proceeded to run back into the house. My mother stopped me at the door and asked “Where do you think you’re going with that snow?” I looked up at her with my big, brown eyes and innocent grin and replied, “I’m putting the snow in the freezer so I can play with it later.” Of course, she told me to leave my bucket outside, and I did as I was told. As time passed, I forgot all about my little, yellow bucket of snow. Winter ended, spring had come and gone, and the next summer had rolled around. It was a scorcher! One particularly sweltering day, I remembered that I left the little yellow bucket of snow on the back porch, and I thought that hot day would be the perfect time to play with it. I ran to the backyard only to see my little, yellow bucket filled with dirty water. I was utterly disappointed and began to cry.
I believe that memories begin to emerge when our psyches are ready to reveal a truth and we are ready to receive it. I have been thinking about that childhood experience quite often now. As I toss this memory around in my mind and begin to mine it for the gold that it is sure to contain for my life, I listen in and realize that the seasons of life are much like the seasons we experience in nature. There are signs that can help us discern when life-seasons are changing. I’m talking about that uncomfortable, awkward period of transition. I’m talking about those times in which your soul experiences a “growth spurt,” and you begin to realize that your old skin doesn’t quite fit anymore. I have long been sensing a shift in my life – a transitioning out of one season and into the next. And I can assure you that the snow in the little, yellow bucket is quite significant.
However cute and innocent the act, 5-year old Sabrina or “Nikki” as I was fondly called, made a mistake: I was trying to carry something meant only for one season into the next season. We are not meant to take everything from old seasons into the next phases of our journeys. There are some things that are meant to be honored and enjoyed in their particular time. But when that time is up, we must let them go. Imagine what I could have placed in my little, yellow bucket if I had only been willing to let the snow go when winter passed. I could have placed spring flowers, summer sands, or even fall leaves in it during those particular times. I could have used the bucket to enjoy and experience all of the seasons that had come and gone. Not only that, but I could have cleaned out the little, yellow bucket in anticipation of all of the opportunities and potential that the next season could bring. Instead, I missed them by holding on to old snow, or at least an idea of old snow.
As seasons change, I must ask, “What’s in our little, yellow buckets now? Are there things we need to let go and surrender to Time in order to fully live in the present? Will we choose to engage faith and be open to what the process of transition will bring as we grow?”