The month of January occurs from just about the beginning of winter and lasts through its middle. In many parts of the country, it is marked by trees with no leaves, snow on the ground, and bone-chilling cold. Here in Southern California, our temperatures are more comfortable, although it gets cold enough at times to remind us that it’s not summer anymore.
Rosalie Miller Wright, former editor of Sunset Magazine wrote this about the first month of the year: “January is the quietest month in the garden. But just because it looks quiet doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. The soil, open to the sky, absorbs the pure rainfall while microorganisms convert tilled-under fodder into usable nutrients for the next crop of plants. The feasting earthworms tunnel along, aerating the soil and preparing it to welcome the seeds and bare roots to come.”
Lots of things are like that. Such as boiling a pot of water. You turn on the heat to high and watch it, and you don’t see or hear much of anything happening at first. But slowly and surely, the water temperature rises until it reaches its boiling point and begins to bubble and steam. Walk into a college campus library around exam time and while you won’t hear a lot of noise, there certainly is a lot of reading and studying going on. Just because things are quiet doesn’t mean things aren’t happening.
Grief can be like that, too. On the outside, we may look like we are doing fine. And for all intents and purposes, we may be good in the moment. But deep within us, we are still processing and working through many different feelings and emotions. We may have a lot of unanswered questions about why we had to suffer a loss, what we really believe spiritually, and how we will go on.
These quiet internal moments will eventually be expressed outwardly as we work through our grief and interact with close friends and relatives. Our quietness is not always a sign that there is nothing going on; in fact, it may mean that there is a lot going on and we are simply processing it.