The Internet Cafe
Christine from Fruit in Season
...and everything in time, and under Heaven, finally falls asleep. Wrapped in blankets white, all creation shivers underneath. And still I notice you when branches crack, and in my breath on frosted glass. Even now in death you open doors for life to enter...
You are Winter.
I grew up in central New Jersey with cold, often snowy, winters, hot, humid summers, and the bliss of the in-between. I remember snuggling in my bed, rubbing my feet together and then drawing my knees to my chest to get warm under 3 blankets and an afghan made by my grandmother. I remember hearing the wind moan outside the walls of my corner bedroom and feeling cozy and safe inside. I thought it was normal to have frozen feet all winter long, and only when I became an adult did I realize that not everyone kept the windows open, or the heat only up to 65, during the cold months of the year.
I remember traveling across the street to the farm for sledding in the snow. The hill looks small now, but for my sister and me it meant hours of fun that resulted in red, runny noses, pink cheeks and a hot cup of cocoa when we returned home.
Then came Spring.
There's nothing like Spring after a cold winter. Finally shedding coats, hats and mittens, smelling the clean scent of rain and mud and growth in the air. I love the seasons. I feel lost when the dance between them is missing.
I chose to go to college in Miami, Florida. I was the envy of many friends, who I'm sure thought I would be on the beach instead of at class, but I didn't head there for the sun. And while I was there, I wilted a bit each year, missing the change from hot to cool to cold. Christmas wasn't the same- seeing palm trees dressed with lights, smelling green instead of the white of approaching snow, and seeing sun instead of the white-gray of a northeastern winter sky.
Toward the end of my Florida stay, Jason (who's originally from South Florida) and I were dating. He knew of the void the constant warmth left for me. The first fall he was gone to graduate school in Ohio while I remained in Miami he sent me crisp, colorful fall leaves in an envelope. It was a precious gift.
The years I spent in Florida taught me a very important lesson.
Spring loses its meaning if it doesn't follow winter. The rebirth is shallow when not preceded by starkness and death.
And we can't appreciate the resurrection without the cross.
Suffering has its place. There is so much that would pass us by, without gratitude, if we didn't experience death in our lives. Death of dreams, death of expectations, death of health, or death of the body. The cycle would be incomplete without it.
To finish the song "Every Season", by Nichole Nordeman, is to be reminded of how God is rebirth, renewal and life itself.
...And everything that's new has bravely surfaced, teaching us to breathe. And what was frozen through is newly purposed, turning all things green. So it is with You, and how You make me new with every season's change. And so it will be, as You are recreating me...