I have a love-hate relationship with winter. Good bits, like sparkling frosty mornings, and bad bits like short days and gloomy weather.
Over the years I have discovered a link between winter and my own spirituality. Winter makes me prone to an inner emptiness; it may be the lack of sunlight, or the cold dampness of January & February. I tend to feel less “well” and more “down” which means I find it harder to maintain a vibrant spirituality. I still believe, my trust remains in the same Hands- but I am less productive, less able to focus, and more prone to distractions or indulgence.
Strangely, as the snowdrops, aconites and daffodils emerge and wave their sunny faces in the breeze, my heart and spirit begin to lift. Spring is on the way, and there is an internal Spring too.
For years I blamed myself and felt guilty about my failings. After all, spiritual life isn’t dependent on circumstances- but circumstances have an effect. When we blame ourselves we can be unfair. Yes, I am responsible for my life-choices. On the other hand, my physical body and mind are an integral part of my identity. Health, worry, tiredness and winter make life a weariness. There is a place for being compassionate to myself.
I am more aware of the tendency to “winter glums” of the spirit. I’d like to say I have overcome the problem: but that would be a lie. What I have discovered is that the love and faith of other Christians in the community helps a lot. So do moments of joyful discovery and observation like spotting daffodils! My wife must be very patient… whenever I see spring flowers I call attention to them. It’s as much for my benefit as hers. Such sights lift my eyes and my heart, each is a tiny signpost of grace, a pointer to the faithful compassionate Father of All. Every time I exclaim “Daffodil” that is a prayer of thankfulness and hope that, I trust, will help me be a better person, husband, Christian, and friend. Living in moments of grace beats away the darkening moods of winter- both literal and spiritual. May the flowers of Spring be joy-makers in your life too.
1 Peter 3:8 (ANIV)
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.