As we welcome spring I find myself reflecting on the power of winter.
As you may know I grew up primarily in Florida so seasons were non-existent when I was a kid we lived between comfortable and insanely humid. I owned a coat in those days because I tended to freeze when it dropped to 40 or 50. These days I relish when it's sunny and 40 and my kids try to leave the house without a sweater.
Over the last decade I've learned a bit about winter mainly that it can be tough almost brutal with its gray tones, wind that cuts through layers of clothing and few hours of daylight. During winter It feels like nothing can thrive or succeed.
But as spring nudges it's way in often with warm 70 degree days and birds chattering I realize winter isn't quite so bad. In fact it gives my corner of the world a chance to rest. It allows me to rest too. My lawn isn't forced to grow or face the blade of our mowers. The plants don't require watering instead they dig down deeper and form stronger heartier roots so they can survive the more severe conditions.
My family grows then too digging deeper bonds occasionally annoying each other when we stay in and snuggle up for a movie night, games or an impromptu dance party.
And just when I think that nothing could possibly be thriving in the bleak conditions I am amazed at the condition of my open air compost. As I move the leaves and turn the soil I realize that the scraps from my kitchen have broken down at an even higher rate of speed during the winter than during the steamy summer months. It works harder to warm up and decompose into hearty earth for my spring plantings.
The cold requires a bit from us just to survive. But then sometimes that same fierce weather simply requires us to give in and drop our leaves and conserve energy so we may become taller and stronger.
It's the naked branches that have been forced to drop their leaves that showed off a beautiful pond that was previously hidden among the green leaves. I had driven down this road several months and it wasn't until winter that I saw this beautiful sight.
And maybe that's what winters about shedding ourselves of the old to clear that way at least for a little bit to show off the beauty that is hidden away until our new growth comes in.
I've heard people describe their life through seasons. Various seasons coming and going depending on circumstances. Spring during a time of new beginnings new home, new location, new job. Autumn when it's time to harvest the bounty of hard work. But no one wants to be in winter.
Winter is often used to describe times of trouble, tragedy and hardship.
As I visited a friend recently whose loved one is going through cancer she said that while her loved one is going through cancer that she in a way is going through a sort of spiritual cancer and it is causing her to dig out the areas that needed some work.
And maybe just like trees that grow stronger due to the wind that whips them about maybe we too grow stronger during our winters. Not being held captive by sheer beauty but having to work through the tough stuff while growing deeper roots and remembering what is really important and who will pull us through.
Giving us a time to depend on God not just the perfect weather.