Has your winter been harsh?
I think there are many of us in the U.S. that can agree that this last winter was pretty stinky. Whether you live in the east, south, north or west, we all saw weather conditions that just didn’t seem right.
Recently a writer friend challenged me to describe my winter here in Colorado. Words such as bitter, desolate, never-ending, bleak, dark, and stark came to mind.
Those words seemed flat, so I tried to include more descriptive words to add some flavor. Freezing, ferocious, soaked, unyielding, gloomy, dismal and forsaken seemed about right.
“Wait,” she said, “those sound more like words of mourning than words of winter.”
“Is there a difference?”
“You tell me,” she answered.
Little did I know how she was leading me to see how my winter season was really the winter I was feeling in my heart after losing my mom.
April 1st is the time to begin pruning back the dead stems of the rose bushes in Colorado. So I headed out to clean out my front garden and clip off all the brown withered stalks of my roses as well as clean out the dead foliage of my lilies and peonies.
Snipping away I found new rose shoots appearing many places. Some were at the bottom of the bush, some along what looked like dead branches. It was a reminder to me that not everything that looks dead remains that way.
Much like me. What a tough winter it has been. My mom died on December 21st, the first day of the season of winter and my heart entered a desolate time of its own. Since then the struggle to just move ahead has been challenging at times. But with the onset of spring, I remember that there is new life. New life for my mom and the promise of new life for me.
Over the past couple months I have been asked to talk with people about science and faith and how they intertwine. Getting to share my passion has been a good distraction for me. Then last week when I was thanking our pastor for recommending me yet again for the same topic, he said, “Well, it is your ministry.”
I never really thought about it like that. An interest, yes. A passion, of course. But a ministry? Huh.
Then I started pruning those thorny bushes out front and saw those new shoots. It was a reminder that though winter this year was the roughest I’ve ever seen, new promise is revealed. Yes, I need to trim away the dead parts of me…the hurt, the pain, and the consumption of chocolate (because all the chocolate in the world won’t bring my mom back), there are still parts of me that come back anew.
I shared so many things with my mom. And I thought the science and faith passion we shared was one of those dead branches that needed to be pruned back, lost forever. But no. What looks dead does not always remain that way.
What an appropriate lesson for me to learn this week as we enter the holiest time of the year, the death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. What looks dead WILL NOT remain dead.
I am grateful to the Lord for such a visual reminder in nature…in science.