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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Through Winter Eyes

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or if you have known me for very long at all, one thing you know for sure is that I love winter!  As long as I can remember I have loved winter.  I have fond memories of snow forts and sledding.  I had dreams of becoming a figure skater or an olympic skier.  Having grown up in rural Iowa, it wasn't likely that I would become either.

Through the years people have said that as I get older I will come to hate winter just like the rest of the world.  I haven't found that to be true.  If anything, my fondness for the snow and bone chilling cold only grows stronger with time. Why winter?  Why not spring, or fall or the warm summer sun? Why am I drawn to the coldest, bleakest time of year?  Would you consider seeing life through winter eyes?  It is my winter eyes that help me to see more than a simple changing of nature's seasons.

I have had experiences that have taken me full circle in what I have come to know as the seasons of life.  I have felt the warmth of love so much that it overwhelmed me and caused me to step aside for a time. I have seen new life in all of creation; from flowers to puppies and watching a colt rise from the ground to take its first steps. I have felt the summer sun in laughter and I have stood in awe holding a tiny baby,  living breathing spring time in my very arms.  I have also held the hand of sorrow; sorrow so deep that everything around me seemed gray.  Those times are the autumn of my soul; a time when colors slowly fade until one morning I wake up to a cold gray world.  Soon the snow comes in gentleness and lays a blanket over me to hold me and to keep me still.  While I stay in the arms of winter's beauty my heart begins to warm and slowly the snow   begins to melt.  Just as the ground softens in the spring to accept the nourishment of the winter snows, so does my heart soften to receive its gift.  I need a blanket of the gentle snow to hold me until I am ready to know the joy of spring and the new life that comes with it. I want to be ready to greet the summer sun with the laughter of a child at play.

Maybe I'm crazy for loving winter, or maybe I have winter eyes that see something far deeper than a snow drift.  :o)

Blessings to you as you read and by all means, bundle up!  It's cold out there!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

May You Be Present

My pastor ended her sermon today with the words; "May you be present and not somewhere else.  May you be found in Christ."  I listened with intent to her words today for many reasons. She encouraged us to look for joy in what we have and to be thankful for this moment.  I like to think that I do this well, but I often find myself living with the "what if" and "I should have" mentality.  This has always been difficult for me and I suspect that I am not alone.

I am known to be a positive, upbeat woman who is rarely if ever down or depressed.  Honestly, I do view life differently than some who have experienced similar struggles and have known less heartache.  But I am also a woman who has real hurts, real disappointments and there are times when resilience seems less present.  But why were the pastor's words so meaningful today? This past week our pastor said goodbye to her mom who had been fighting cancer for some time.  As she approached the pulpit and shared briefly her gratitude to the congregation for allowing her the time to be with her family, she gave us much more.  The tears came and her voice was shaken for a moment.  She demonstrated what it means to be present and to be found in Christ.  How could I not listen to her message after that?  What does it mean to me today?

It means that when those moments of sadness come, and they will, that it is alright for me to stand still and listen.  It is alright for me to grieve what needs to be grieved.  It is necessary for me to stand in the presence of Christ, shaken and sad.  It is also necessary for me to move past the sadness in time to "look for joy in what I have".

Most days I do this well, but some days even I need to make a concerted effort not to race ahead of the beauty that can be found in a moment of sadness or even joy.  I want to be present long enough to hear God speak to me and through me.  I want to be found in Christ.

Blessings to all who stop by to read,


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