Winter is coming. I can feel it in my neck. I haven’t been doing anything different than I have all summer, but nonetheless my neck has begun to ache and I’ve felt the need to take a pain pill or two. The cold and the damp wreak havoc on the arthritis in my neck. For that reason, I really hate winter.
And I’m not the only one for whom winter has negative implications. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis describes the long winter in Narnia. It has been winter in Narnia for 100 years, but it is never Christmas. It is simply cold, snowy, and icy, all because the evil White Witch (she calls herself Queen, but we all know better) has made it winter. Only when Aslan, the true King of Narnia and the source of all good, returns does the snow and ice melt and spring return to the land.
Thankfully our winters in Oregon do not last 100 years, but only a few months. And except for last year when snow closed the schools for a week we don’t normally get weather that is below freezing, or worse yet below zero. Winter in Oregon is only temporary. Eventually it gives way to spring, which marches on into summer.
I love summer! It is warm and fun-filled. You can go out without a coat and wear slip-on sandles. It is a simply glorious time. But I suppose I would not appreciate the glory of summer nearly as much without the comparison to the dreary cold of winter. For that one reason, I accept winter as a necessary part of the year.
Our lives are much like the seasons of the year. We go through cold and dreary times, followed by growth and times of basking in the sun of the good life. Sometimes the winters of our lives seem to last 100 years and we wonder when they will end.
The season of my longest “winter,” the time when I was struggling with major depression, lasted eight or nine years, but in the midst of it all it might as well have been 100 years. It was only when God returned to be a part of my life, and I listened to His wisdom, that spring and summer returned to my life. When that long winter was finally over, I experienced a time of incredible growth and have had many chances to bask in the sun of good times since then.
I have no doubt I will experience more emotional and spiritual winters in my life, but they will be only temporary. During the summer days, I will look back and remember those dark and dreary times and have a greater appreciation for the blessings of my emotional and spiritual springs and summers.
You might have noticed that I have not yet mentioned fall. I am a bit ambivalent about fall. I don’t hate it or love it. I guess it really represents a time of rest for me, of quiet preparation for the long winter ahead. Now that I think about it, I better use this time to start getting ready.