It’s been hard to take at times, the tight fist of winter. It seems like with every reprieve that comes, a taste of spring, winter comes with greater force and vengeance. Yet, even with the sun’s angle growing in the sky and days getting longer, there’s something comforting about winter’s solace. There’s something about hunkering down and hibernating in our own way that, as much as we want it to end, we still hang onto it. We complain about it’s wrath. We question why it continues. We wonder if we could ever get out of bed in the morning, in all his darkness, winter hangs tight. Even in anticipation of light and life, with melting snow and the passing of days, we hold back from accepting winter as a part of life’s cycle, as a part of God’s plan for creation to wait with patience for life, not on our terms or in our time, but not until spring is ready, not until winter tries to give his last laugh and his own gasp for life.
So true of our own spiritual life and the ongoing tension of life and death, of winter and the spring of our lives, our own spring awakening. We too get comfortable with the dark, the cold, the death, and as much as we say we fear death, our lives often say that what we fear more is not death but life. Like winter’s tight fist, we tighten up and hold onto all that holds back life. We hold onto all that keeps spring from happening. Yet, God is patient with it all and buries the roots deeper for life so that when we finally accept the winter of our own lives and spring begins to take shape, it will bear greater fruit.
Maybe we haven’t been slowed enough by winter? Maybe we keep fighting it? What we fight is so often our denial of the winter of life, wanting the forever spring where life always abounds; yet, there is great value in winter, not only for nature and her course, but for the mystery that we call life. Without death, we remain tight fisted. Without death we want control. Without winter we try to direct our own path toward salvation, life, resurrection. Without death there isn’t much life; the two go hand-in-hand. Without winter, spring loses its pop.
In these late winter days when we have grown weary of all that winter brings, we can begin to feel the tug within for change, for life. We can begin to feel the pains of giving birth to life, to buds breaking forth. In these late winter days we are called to accept winter as part of the mystery we live, not as our enemy or something to avoid and leave, but rather an invitation to allow the roots to go deep, to be buried in the fertile soil that God has been preparing these weeks and months. At that moment of surrender and that moment of acceptance spring, with all its glory will erupt within and around our midst, regardless of what the calendar may read, and most certainly, regardless of what it looks like and feels like outside our door.