As I write this I am sitting in a coffee shop, on a beautiful spring-like day. It’s amazing how a bit of good weather in the midst of the cold we’ve had can lift the spirit to new life. And new life will ALWAYS come after the cold of winter. It’s in the cold of winter that I need to remember this!
No matter what the “winter” of life is, whether it be illness, a broken relationship, loss of job or even death itself, we are promised the advent of new life beyond it. I just need to mentally remind myself of that fact, even though I may not be “feeling” it at the time. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of looking for small hints.
Last night, as I left the hospital I looked up and noticed that there was still light in the sky and it was 6:10pm. The light of Spring is coming! But right now, it’s just a hint, barely noticeable. But it’s there and it points to the warmth and light to come.
As my friend shows signs of improvement and communication, so may this point to his full recovery to come. May healing light and warmth surround you my friend and brother Mike.
Happy New Year!
I recently heard a sermon by a bright young priest at an independent catholic church. He began with a story of his Mom, in her mid 30’s huddling her 6 boys and 1 girl together in her arms, . . . at their daddy’s funeral. He said that as she held them close, she kept repeating, almost whispering “God is with us, God is with us, God is with us, God is with us . . .” What struck me is that he said that these words, normally heard and spoken in happiness this time of year, came from a place of deep fear, uncertainty and sadness within her.
When I think of the reality of what many in the world will celebrate in a few days, it is far from the pretty, warm cozy picture that we try to create. It was cold, dirty, smelly, bloody and fearful. Joseph was perplexed by his pregnant wife to be. Instead of a warm, cozy home, they had to leave home and when they arrived in Bethlehem there was no room for them. The child was sought after and almost killed.
“God is with us, God is with us, God is with us, God is with us . . .”
Sometimes our lives can be messy, dark and cold; but the reality that we shout these days is “God is with us!” To some in difficulty, such words might ring hollow. But as sweet and sappy as some of this season can be, perhaps we need this time of year when we are reminded of what is good in the world, what is good in the human spirit and when our thoughts turn to “peace and goodwill toward all.” I can’t help but think that since a lot of us are thinking such thoughts, a little bit of it might actually manifest itself in our reality.
Like a dying star
Convulsing – trying to hold on
The heat – intense as gravity folds in on itself and energy ceases
Unable to escape the intensity – I collapse inward and finally explode
Will I fall into the inescapable darkness?
Or find myself thrust outward in a burst of creative energy
Forced and forged by this seeming death
Exploding into newness – Supernova my name?
Elements strong and bright
Silver and gold are forged in this heat
Gravity’s intense pressure – beauty’s unlikely birthplace
I awaken, able to move
Sound body – energy even to tone
Gratitude – how blessed!
Visions of days past loom like distant memories
When I would gather them
Songs of passion, dreams of a different shore – a way for us to be – that seemed within reach
A heart that beat with affect and hope, open and seeking – dashed – yet like the phoenix,
Rising from the ashes
Flying again into your heart.
The gravity of ashes now speak: “lay here”
Rebirth – a distant belief
Voices of sunrise silenced
Visions of setting the last table become the heart’s
Visions. Songs. Dreams. Heart.
Has the Song found it’s end? Is the table to be
The Vision still has its time. Here . . . A spark.
I find myself of late so very grateful for my belief in a Higher Power – and that Power’s ability to do what I cannot, even changing negative circumstance into a dance! I simply do not know what I would do if I didn’t have this still point to go to in the midst of great uncertainty and difficulty. It becomes life breath to me. To have a vision of hope, even amidst great uncertainty is such a gift! To believe that unexpectedly good things can come of life’s brokenness is a gift beyond price.
I don’t understand why some things happen. If I had the power to turn back the hands of time and change some things I would – but I do not have that power. However, I do believe that there is a Power that can draw straight lines with the crookedness that befalls us. This is God’s laugh in the face of darkness. “Even night is not dark for you and the night is as clear as day” (Psalm 139). Can I believe that darkness is not dark, and that unexpected light and goodness can overcome whatever seeming darkness may befall me?
Humans must be among the very few creatures who do not slow down in the Winter. We keep running about, full speed ahead, even though the cold and the darkness beckon our bodies to rest. For some, Winter creates an emotional hibernation, a depression which leaves them without much energy.
Whether our Winter leaves us physically tired or emotionally drained, it’s important to remember that Winter’s silence, Winter’s stillness holds a secret. If an alien came to our planet in the middle of a land’s Winter season, would they have any idea that the seemingly dead branches, the frozen plants and brown grass would, in a short while, burst into life?
In the dead of Winter, sometimes we feel as if the lethargy of our bodies or spirits will be without end. In such a time, we need to look to Spring, realizing that what seems dead, what seems lifeless will burst into life again. Sometimes this very thought is enough to reverse a downward emotional trend.
I think of the line in the famous song “The Rose,” sung by Bette Midler some years back:
“When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long; and you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong. . . . Just remember, in the Winter, far beneath the bitter snow, lies the seed, that with the sun’s love, in the Spring, becomes . . . the rose.”