I've been running into the idea of finding God in the darkness, in the cloud, in the quiet places lately. Maybe it's the kind of thing folks write about during winter. One of my complaints about living in Texas has been that there aren't any real seasons. We have summer and we have something else that is not quite summer, but hardly qualifies as Spring, Fall or Winter. My son and daughter-in-law live in Boston and after a while the winter doesn't so much look like a gift as much as it looks like a prison term or a very cold Purgatory. But closer to the equator here in Texas we usually skip right over winter and step into something that is a little chilly, often quite warm, just fixin' to cuddle up to a long stretch of HOT that starts in March and hangs around through Thanksgiving.
Maybe it's my conditioning of growing up in a part of the world where there are four distinct seasons, but I think that a stretch of winter is very important. We need, that is our souls, our hearts, our guts, our minds, need a time to be pulled away from the rush of sunny warm activities and dig in a little. It's nature's gift of retreat, whether we think we want it or not.
If we don't have a little winter in our souls I think we run the risk of becoming ninnies. Yep, ninnies. All activity and busy-ness and self-centered stuff. We need a little heft, a little gravitas, a little snow shoveling once in a while to pull us down to the quieter places where we can listen and just be.
Yes, the snow is pretty as it weighs down the branches on the trees and covers the brown lawns. Yes, the snow will turn to slush and then to mud with just enough layering of ice to make driving or walking treacherous. But it makes us pause, and often taking pause is the only way we will ever learn anything. There is something sacramental in the snow. Not safe, but sacramental.