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Winter Lessons

If you’re a lover of winter, you might be rejoicing that we’ve finally had a REAL winter. I’m not. I’ve never embraced the cold. I can’t figure out how to move with the rhythm of this season. The past few winters, I’ve used lack of snow as my excuse for not getting out skiing. This winter I still didn’t have my skis out of the basement. Busted!
This is the worst winter of commuting I’ve had in 15 years. In fact, I’ve been saying you could take the bad days of all the other winters COMBINED and this one was worse. Rather than being sensible and staying home, I’m always fighting winter’s limitations. Some days I would arrive at church to some-one saying, “I can’t believe you came in to-day.” I suspect I need to learn to be more respectful of winter’s perils.
This long cold winter has me thinking about winter as a metaphor: for seasonal death, for gestation, for life buried and awaiting the appropriate time to emerge. What do we need to learn about letting go of our agendas and listening for God’s intent? When we’re anxious to get on with it, can we be patient and discover value in waiting? Can we discern stirrings of new life under the ice and snow, or warmth under a cold, hard surface?
While I wouldn’t want one every year, this kind of winter can teach us. In a culture where I want what I want now and how I want it, winter reminds us of other values: patience, trust, relationships, respect, listening, humility, and waiting.
Knowing the truth of Easter, over the remaining days of Lent and through Holy Week, let’s spend time with the questions, truths and values winter offers, and listen to their lessons.