Winter: time of dormant life awaiting the spring thaw, but content to be still and silent for now. The season when most are clustered indoors, watching through windows as the winds drive snow across their fields of vision, fearing to tread and slip on the ice, awed by the blizzard’s power and yet pleased to view it from the security of their nestled homes.
Winter is our waiting season. What we cannot or dare not venture forth to do, we imagine in our dreams—and wait. Yet as we watch and wait and wonder, we continue to hope and eagerly seek any fleeting sign of the coming Spring. Winter comes, but like all other seasons of life, it, too, will pass.
In February, when the full reality of the winter’s cold and numbing darkness has settled into our souls, we learn to rejoice in every sunny day, no matter how chilled. When gray upon gray has darkened our days, the opening of the sky to let the sun in is like a rebirth of hope within our hearts. Only when we have been deprived of that joy do we really come to appreciate even sunlight as a gift.
In February, too, some of us find the bittersweet consolation which Lent brings. Understood as our means of shedding the burdens of our souls to be free before our God, Lent can bring the satisfaction of a cleansing shower or Spring cleaning of our hearts. We can use this opportunity to undertake new activities—reading, study, prayer, service to others, seeking of justice in our world, working for unselfish goals. In winter, in Lent, we can burrow deeper into our unexplored souls and name the hunger for meaning we all too often mask with busyness.
As Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, February 10th, let us accept the season gladly, undertaking whatever discipline you happen to choose as a means to deepen your spiritual awareness of who you are and how God might be calling you. We all have reached the point in life where our routine of life can become sterile, not giving us the joy which we always experience when in the presence of the Spirit. Perhaps during the cold silence of February, when we remove every distraction which draws us apart from that spirit of joy, we can regain our sense of being called to cast off the need for excessive busyness and embrace the silence out of which the still, small voice of the Lord speaks.
Whether we want it or not, Michigan’s February is where we find ourselves. Perhaps, this February, including Lent and our chosen disciplines to observe it, may just become where we find ourselves. Let us redirect our spirit and pay deliberate attention to our inner needs, embracing the innerness of this season and consciously directing our powers to look within to seek our God. That experience of rebirth within ourselves would surpass even the coming of Spring outside!
Blessing to you in February,