In the northern hemisphere winter is normally viewed as the season to get through as quickly as possible – a sort of white knuckled hang in there and grit your teeth through this lousy time of the year. After the anticipation of Christmas is over and the New Year celebration is so much left-over confetti, the rest of the long dark cold winter stretches before us with no quick end in sight.
Perhaps because I was born in the winter and maybe because I always like to stick up for the little guy who no body likes and everybody picks on – I want to give you my take on the least appreciated season of the year. For I have learned to love winter.
I believe we can be thankful for anything if we are paying proper attention. For example, soon after I was born I discovered I was in for a lot of dish washing - for the rest of my life! I hated washing dishes. Then I decided I didn’t want to spend an enormous part of my existence doing something I loathed. So I decided to teach myself how to enjoy doing the dishes. After all, what we enjoy is a choice.
So I began noticing the comforting way the warm water in the sink soothed my chills in the winter or how the cold water cooled me off in the summer. I watched rainbows bubbles pop in the suds while I made dirty pots and pans shine. While scrubbing, I transformed the fork into a bad guy, the knife into a gallant knight and the spoon into a princess as I created fantastical stories. When I finished cleaning up in the kitchen I always looked back for a moment to appreciate the beauty and order I’d created from the mess and earlier chaos. Now I love doing the dishes.
Winter used to be my least favorite time of year. So I decided if I could love doing the dishes, I could love winter. I began by paying better attention. I noticed mosquitoes were never pestering me in the winter. Because I didn’t have to spend time working in the yard, I appreciated the extra time to focus on in-house projects. Rousing basketball games were everywhere. The days were short so the nights were long and deep - perfect for reading a good book next to the fire. I relished the calm quietness of snow, the way it covered the bare tress and gardens and transformed a bleak grey world into a magical shimmering land of white. Noxious weeds become jeweled orbs and spider webs become glistening lace. Because of winter, I’ve learned how to wait for spring with trust and patience. So now I can wait for God to reveal the meaning and purpose in personal times of grief and loss.
So when you are tempted to complain about winter, don’t. Walk outside on a star-lit night and feel the stillness. Breathe deep before the morn. If you find no joy in winter, you find no joy in pain. If you find no joy in pain you have not learned. Trust. All that lies beneath the snow will someday return to living and the time for believing without seeing will be over. For now - welcome the stillness and be at peace.