The Februarys

To break from T.S. Eliot, February is the cruelest month. It’s dark, it’s cold, and there’s something ominous about deep winter that leaves me feeling broken—frozen and cracked.

This February is no different: I feel cold. I feel cracked. I feel numb.

Last year was hard, and for the last four or five months, I’ve felt as though I’ve been navigating through fog—as though I’ve been in some scripted movie and I’m the only one without a script. As though I can see something that no one else can—or the opposite. As though I’ve been in a never-ending lucid dream. I can control myself, but everything else is in chaos.

I know that doesn’t sound too far from reality—life is, indeed, chaos. But life hasn’t really felt like life lately, and I don’t know how to describe something that is indescribable. If I could, I would.

February was always the worst month in college and grad school. It was early in the semester, but late enough that the workload was fairly heavy, and there was no end in sight. It was also cold, icy, and slushy in Morgantown, WV. Dirt and salt everywhere: jeans, shoes, book bag.

Even though it’s the shortest month, February feels the longest. I try to dig myself out, following the palest light I can find through the clouds.

I’ve coined a name for this anxiety to get to March: “The Februarys.” (I guess you could also write it as “Februaries,” if you want, but I prefer “Februarys” because “February” is a proper noun that I’m pluralizing. Anyway….) Every February, I get a case of the Februarys, and I diagnose my friends and colleagues when they exhibit symptoms. I think we all experience a little bit of the Februarys each year, but mine usually lasts 28 days, and some years—the really, really bad ones—it lasts for 29.

I guess I could say I’ve been living in February for a while. My case of the Februarys began in, say, September—though it might be possible that my Februarys from 2016 never truly went away. I guess I haven’t made it to March, yet. Or perhaps it’s just spring I want.

Or perhaps it’s simply a yearning for warmth and light that I haven’t been able to feel.

I look for Jesus in my sadness and grief, but it’s always Him who finds me. It’s always Him who dies for me and promises me hope for the age to come. It’s always Him who gives me the strength to love fiercely, even those who do not believe in Him—especially those who do not believe in Him.

It’s Him who assures me that my sadness and anger over injustice are righteous. It’s Him who reminds me of free will and choice, and that no one is perfect except Him.

I cannot expect non-Christians to act like Christians.

Love them fiercely anyway, point them to Truth, and leave it to God.

Love, and leave it to God.

February is Sheol. It’s the belly of a whale. It’s the lowest of places, and it takes me there with it. But the Februarys is an anxiety to reach that pale light in the sky, the source of which not always visible. The Februarys comes from despair, but also from hope.

I am reaching.

I am yearning.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Bring me to spring.


Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Natalie Liounis
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  1. Gretchen on February 13, 2017 at 9:57 AM

    I can well identify with this lament. My mom died on Feb 21st, and though it’s been 18 years, it feels fitting that she died during February. We have often taken vacations in February because we just knew by this time of year we’d be wishing for the sunshine upon our faces and lives. Saying a prayer for you and your extended February. I’m here for you if you need to talk. ❤

  2. Julie Steele on February 13, 2017 at 11:54 AM

    My mother died on February 17th. And I was just commenting how this past crazy summer weekend kept me from having a case of the Februarys.

    Love your posts as always.

  3. Jen on February 13, 2017 at 11:59 AM

    “The Februarys”. What a good way to put it. It’s a fairly benign month for me, but as much as I love winter, I’m always ready for spring by now. I’m ready for more light.

  4. Diane Karchner on February 13, 2017 at 7:17 PM

    “The Februarys comes from despair, but also from hope.” Hope gets us through anything. I am thankful for you, and for those who struggle with this, that February is the shortest month of the year. That in itself, is a blessing and a hope. Love the way you ‘put it out there’ in your words. It is an art to draw us into your experiences with just the use of words. Thank you

  5. Sarah Eshleman on March 2, 2017 at 7:41 PM

    Oh Natalie! This was so lovely. I had been feeling the Februarys myself. Thank you for remind me of the light to get us through!!

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