Well it appears that winter has descended upon us earlier than usual this year. The snow is here and the temperatures are already taxing our heating systems.
Winter is a strange time
On the one hand there is the beauty of freshly fallen snow that blankets the earth in wonder. We are surrounded by the decorations that speak of Christmas and the joy that comes with new life. Many of us are busy preparing for family visits, turkey dinners, gatherings with friends and then there is the fury of baking that some enjoy. At the church, the lights are twinkling inside and we are wrapped in the warmth of the season.
On the other hand, the darkness surrounds us and the short days affect our energy and moods. With all the celebrations we are more aware of those who are not here this year to join us at the table. The snow though pretty, brings with it ice that means some are unable to move around as freely as they would like.
On the one hand we talk of light and love being born anew in us and on the other we find ourselves in places of deep sorrow and darkness.
Not only is winter strange, it is also difficult
A Strange Time – A Difficult Time
As I reflect on this and sit at my computer this morning I am keenly aware that the difficulties of winter and of this season are weighing heavily on many of us. Finding hope, or joy, or love or peace seems to be harder as we deal with tragedy and death and change and a future that, for some, has taken a turn. In some ways there are no words that can lighten the burden yet we seek to hear good news in some way. And it is in prose and poetry that we can sometimes find that piece of wisdom that touches our soul.
Joyce Rupp in the book “The Heart’s Journey Through the Seasons, The Circle of Life” offers us the following reflection called “The Wintered Spirit”. When I read it, it spoke to me heart and my being perhaps it will speak to yours as well.
The Wintered Spirit
“How can you believe in the softness of a flower petal when your heart has turned to stone?
How can you dream of an easy rain when all your love is frozen in glaciers of loss?
How can you hope for fruit to form on the tree when you can hardly hang on to life each day?
How can you find promise in a seed when your heart is lost in the depths of depression?
How can you sense the stirrings of a butterfly when your energy is cocooned in sorrow?
It take immense trust and hope to see new life waiting beneath the frozen, barren land.
It takes deep courage to remain in the cave of loneliness and painful solitude.
It takes powerful faith to believe in the gestation of a positive future when all is unknown.
It take compassionate patience to remain by the side of an aching seed in the silent soil.
It takes stout-hearted resilience to endure the soul’s contractions of seemingly endless birthing.
It take vulnerable openness to stay present to deadness and not run from staleness.
We wait for new life but we do not wait alone.
We wait with the mother bear as the little cub within her takes shape and form.
We wait with the dormant juices of the maple trees gathering up sweetness in their empty limbs.
We wait with the grapes in the vat fermenting and turning themselves into full, red wine.
We wait with the pruned rose bushes sighing for warming sun to sing them into budding.
We wait with frozen creeks and rivers yearning to be melted into laughing waters.
We wait with all humans whose weary lives turn slowly toward re-awakened joy.
We wait the with cosmos which is ever dying and being reborn, giving away and receiving anew.
And While we wait, we struggle to accept winter as a necessary companion,
an inner season calling us to be more than we are now,
a confident guide taking us on a perilous journey that is part of every dying and every birthing.
It is in the winter of our lives that the enduring Voice within coaxes us along, nudges us into belief,
urges us to stay in the dark for as long as it takes for re-birthing to occur.
In our wintered time, it is this One who draws us close, nestles us near to heart,
breathes strength into our spiritual bones, and assures us that we are growing wings
under the frozen land of our desolate and emptied self.”
May our spirit be fed and our beings renewed as we wait in winter darkness. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear the possibilities that lay beneath the frozen land. May we find moments of peace and rest that will enable us to rise and sing again.
© 2018 Rev Valerie Peyton Kingsbury. All rights reserved.