Winter

Originally published in January 1996.

If you live anywhere on the eastern seaboard, you have recently experienced the “Blizzard of ‘96” and lots and lots of snow.Lots and lots of snow.And this opinion is from someone who grew up in Minnesota and knows what blizzards are like on a regular basis.

I hate winter.I grew up in Minnesota where winters are legendary but that doesn’t make me like winter any better.This is why I hate winter.Everything is dead.There is no color.Just frozen, dead ground; frozen, dead trees; frozen, dead lakes.

And it’s cold, bone-chilling cold.You have to dress in layers and layers of clothes.It is so bulky and uncomfortable.Plus it still doesn’t keep the cold out.The chill goes right through and numbs your face and ears and everything else that is not bundled up with layers.No warmth can be found anywhere outside of your home.Even other people’s homes do not feel warm enough.Sometimes your own home doesn’t feel warm enough.

Then it snows and snows and snows.Everything is buried under this white blanket.The snow gets into your shoes, down the back of your neck, anywhere that isn’t bundled up with layers.Soon the sidewalks are lost.The roads are impassable.The world has stopped but you still want to move.You have to move.You have to be here and do this and finish that which should have been finished last summer.

You can’t.The winter has stopped you.Not even the layers and layers of uncomfortable clothes can stop winter.I would rather live in summer all the tie where I can come and go as I please, feel free in my summer clothing and be warm.

Yet it is amazing what happens during these winter times.You have memorable times with family and friends as you are defenseless against winter.

I remember such a time.I was living in my first apartment so many, m any years ago.My roommates were gone for the weekend when a good ol’ Minnesota blizzard blew in.Nothing new but I was helpless against it.Over that weekend all I did was watch television, talk to my friends in California, and discover 101 ways to eat rice since that was all we had to eat in the apartment.In Minnesota we don’t do these mad grocery runs to the grocery store before every forecast of snow.

Finally that Sunday the snow let up a bit and some friends were able to push through to come pick me up and take me to their apartment.There we “refugees” ate pizza and watched James Bond movies.I have never before and have never since watched James Bond movies.I don’t like James Bond movies.But on that day it was too much fun.I don’t remember any of their names but I do remember the closeness we felt as we weathered out the blizzard together.Instead of winter being so cold and dead and overpowering, it became a memorable time with friends and a victory over winter.

This past week was a reminder of that time.Buried in with the telephone and more food in the cupboards than rice, my friends and I had memorable times and a victory over. My family missed out on this being back in Minnesota where everything is normal.

Some of life’s curves are cold and dead and overpowering.Some of life’s curves make you live in winter.Some of you probably are in the midst of that right now.You’ve been stopped.You have to bundle up with whatever you can find left in your faith and yet you still don’t feel warm.“Stuff” is still falling down the back ofyour neck.The world is impassable.You feel trapped and isolated.

Yet in the dead of winter when life has involuntarily stopped for you, there is a warmth as the comfort of Jesus gathers around you to win a victory over it.You may have found special closeness with family and friends as you weather this out together.You may even be making some long-term memories.And the snow that once blocked your path has now become a playful snowman.

These wonderful things would have never happened had it never snowed.You would have never had these memorable times with your Comforter.Winter doesn’t seem as dead now.

I grew up in Minnesota but was born in California.My friends in California will never understand the victories over winter and the warmth they bring having never been through winter.It’s really a shame.