I heard this is the single greatest snowfall this year–the one that feel well into April–weeks after all the snow had melted. The buds were coming out. People were posting pictures of their crocuses. We were having suppers on the back deck.

And the snow keeps falling. And blowing.

And we all keep shaking our heads.

This isn’t fair.

We don’t deserve this. We can’t handle it. (or at least, that’s what we tell ourselves)

Discouragement abounds.

Manitobans are hardy folk.

We live in a harsh climate—and we know that we have to hunker down and find a way to make it through January, February and March when there are some bitterly cold days, lots of snow—which makes life more challenging.

We accept Winnipeg winters.

This year, it was harder—the pandemic took away a lot of our traditional ways we survive the winter—restaurants with friend, shopping at the mall, going to the gym, the chatting at the office during lunch break. A lot of people didn’t get the break to a sunny beach down south like they would have liked.

We accepted winters during COVID-19, too.

But we saw spring—we tasted it. We saw the buds. We gave our winter exhale—it’s over.

We do not want to accept this dump of snow. We decline it.

We refuse to accept this snow, thank you very much

So this snow storm felt like a real sucker punch to the gut to us.I think there is a common sense of injustice—this IS NOT fair.

And a common sense of discouragement. “How many more times will we get our hope taken away from us?”It feels that to accept this, too–is too much.

Remember last March when we thought the pandemic might be just a couple of weeks? Or a couple of months? There have been so many times in the last months where we have hoped for the end of the pandemic—and then another wave hit us, or restrictions were continued for another block of time, or there are new strains to worry about, or there are delays in vaccine.

We are in month 14 of pandemic, and our ability to absorb disappointment is impacted because of how many disappointments we have had. I think we need to cut ourselves some slack for this huge wave of being crushed by this spring storm. Let’s name our discouragement. Let’s honour the fact that this is a normal reaction by a normal person to a painful situation.

Look around and see other people be discouraged and let them know they are not alone.

Fred Rogers said, “What is mentionable is manageable.” So as we name it, we can make decisions about what we want to do with it.

Think about the word “discouragement”— “dis”-which is about lack of or removal and “courage”—our ability to face adversity and fear.

Dis-courage can feel like it “takes the stuffing out of us”—it takes away our ability to feel courageous. So, I would encourage people to ask themselves the question:

“What would help me be able to re-courage myself?”

Re-courage-ment. How can you help yourself and help others to find their courage again? For some, that might mean making a snow man outside with the child down the block, setting out the china and crystal for supper tonight, or ordering pizza or calling a friend, or even taking some deep breaths.

Dis-courage-ment requires re-courage-ment

I encourage people to acknowledge the discouragement in themselves and around them and give yourself permission for “re-courage-ment”. Be deliberate about it. The snow will melt, the buds will emerge—but we need to continue to restore ourselves to face the ongoing challenges that our world is giving us. Can I invite you to engage in rebellious, bold acts of “re-courage-ment” today?

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