Even though I love the change of seasons after living in sunny California for almost 25 years, I don't look forward to Winter. New Englanders celebrate Spring and Summer like nowhere else and we talk about it with excitement all the time. Getting through the winter in our cozy heated houses, toasty cars with heated steering wheels and seats and fancy insulated clothes gives us a sense of comradery that would make our ancestors be ashamed of us complaining. We have so many creature comforts but the winter feels so long, so uncertain. 'By April I'm ready to ask my husband James for the 1,oooth time, "when can we move South"?! For the last couple of years I sit in front of a sun lamp in the morning and that helps, especially when I'm perusing our gardening books.
This year, I looked at the cold barren trees in the yard and the snow on the ground and it eerily reminded me that we are part of a cycle of life-slowing down, death, rebirth and growth directed by our Creator. It may sound like a cliche but it's true-the light shines after the darkness, the warmth comes after the cold, the calm is after the storm.
The hardest thing I ever did was loose my mother-the nicest, sweetest, most giving person I ever knew. She suffered with dementia for 10+ years and although I'm trained as a Dementia Practitioner, I couldn't help living across the country from her. It broke my heart everyday, over and over for a decade. Visiting and phone calls and letters were not what I wanted to do-I wanted to nurture her. However, it was not to be.
For the first time, this winter I walked on the frozen ground and as I prayed, I felt in the core of my being that God made the Winter partly to show us His resurection power and provision in our lives. The silence of the long nights, the slowing down of our lives, makes us remember He is in control of the Earth. We plant, tend, take care of our garden and trust it will come alive again. The bulbs we bury in the ground need the frozen temperatures to become beautiful and when they wilt, next year they'll be there for us again. The cycle begins again.
I know my mother would have loved the Christmas tree we decorated and the boughs we put up along with the Winter traditions we kept that she taught to me. Time is precious and life is fragile. However, whatever the season we find ourselves in, we are not alone. And, there's an abundance under the snow, only sleeping until God again brings forth new life.