I stepped off the plane a few hours ago, arriving in the strangely sub-arctic temperatures of Baltimore after departing from a balmy Los Angeles afternoon. Subconsciously I willed the plane to pivot 180 degrees and return to the Pacific Coast: to the beaches, ocean breezes, air that smelled of flowers, and trees teeming with ripe avocados and robust oranges.
Even though I grew up in the wintry blizzards of Michigan, I was out of practice for the harsh climactic dichotomy I experienced earlier this evening. I renounced winter. I renounced cold. I renounced four seasons, one of which registered as highly miserable.
Yet, as I renounced the current season in the four-season system, I took comfort in knowing that the next would soon arrive. A new season awaits. While the trees wear a mask of winter deadness, leafless and naked, life still holds the potential of green inside the branches. Crocuses count the degrees until they stoically emerge as the first flowers of the season.
Hardy coniferous trees hold their evergreen needles continually but they, like me, want to bask in warmness and exchange their snowy covering to instead hold the nests of birds awaiting the hatching of their young.
The hope of this dreary season resides in the assured potential of the next. What looks like drudge and death may actually be an encasement that houses the coming of new life.
We are not unlike our surroundings. We too experience seasons. At times our lives bear the obvious fruit and flowering of summer excess. At other times the only form of life in us is the unseen green center inside our branches. While we do not welcome the frigid cold and what looks like stunted or stagnant progress, perhaps it is necessary.
Perhaps we must know winter in order to be ready for, and appreciate, spring. Although the dormant times are painful, perhaps they prove necessary for the times of visible growth. Perhaps they slow us down and prompt us to search, question and care.
In Ecclesiastes, wise Solomon writes, “There is a season for every purpose under Heaven.” He allows that there is “a time to be born and a time to die.” The opposites exist. Death and life are mutually necessary parts of the journey. He continues that there is “a time to laugh and a time to cry.” Tears and joy exist in inextricable combination.
Winter comes but spring promises to follow.
What season are you experiencing right now?
What is God teaching you in that place?
What do you do during "winter" times?
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