Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winter takes a toll

Today the sun is shining.

Over the past few weeks and months we have been experiencing winter. Here in Missouri we are probably experiencing the most snow that we have had in several years. I was thinking the other day that it is probably the most snow in one winter that my kids have ever had in their lives. My oldest is 11 years old and I can't think of a year in his life that has been quite like this one.

But, today the sun is shining.

This means that things are melting. The ground that once was hard and frozen is now soft and mushy. As I walked over to the church I felt relief from the sun but also could not help but notice the toll that winter had taken on my yard and my drive. There is still snow everywhere, the gravel that was on the drive has been relocated to other parts of the yard and is now part of snow drifts made by friendly neighbors who have plowed my drive numerous times after each and every snowfall. The drive way is now mostly mud that I walked gently through. The grass and the trees have become dormant from the cold winter chill. Winter takes a toll.

Those with seasonal depression can understand this. Winter does take it's toll. The short days, the lack of sunshine, the cold temperatures, and the isolation of being shut in takes a toll on us emotionally and physically. As the season drags on we seem as worn out as my drive way and yard. We long for spring.

In the church, winter has taken it's toll. It seems like every major snowstorm has come on Saturday evening. Church attendance has been one of the tolls taken by the winter. But more than attendance numbers, the winter storms that keep us from gathering for church on Sunday, are taking us out of the flow and rhythm of our lives in Christ. It takes us away from worshiping God with others and sharing our lives with others. It takes us out of the community. This takes an emotional and spiritual toll on us. Joy gets harder to find. We find ourself wanting to kick the dog for no reason. We feel distant from God and others. We go hours, days, weeks, without turning our thoughts to God. We go hours, days, weeks without thanking God, or praying, or reading our bibles. We get out of the rhythm. Winter's toll sneaks up on us. We think that when the weather turns then we will get back into the swing of things. But winter keeps dragging on. More snow falls and we find our self emptier this week than we were the week before except this week we don't have as much desire as we did the week before. We began to wonder if people even notice that we have been gone or if people even care.

Winter is taking it's toll.

As I think about the way that this winter has sort of drug on longer than most I worry about our spirits. I worry about the toll that winter is taking. I pray for those that are experiencing some of the stuff that I have written about above and I want you to know that people do care. I care. I miss you and cant wait to see you again. I also want to encourage you. You are not alone, even if you feel alone. God can not be taken from you by the cold and chill of winter.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. This means that we are beginning the season of Lent. Lent is a time for us to get back into the rhythm of our life in Christ. It also is signal to us that Spring is right around the corner. The toll that winter has taken on us, on the grass, my drive, our spirits is going to be transformed and changed. Easter is coming! The sun is shinning today and will continue to shine a little more as spring approaches. The Son is always shinning and can transform even the darkest cold. It is time for us to get ready for Easter!

Pray for those that are struggling this winter. Pray for those that winter has taken a toll on.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

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