This picture was taken in the middle of January. Yes, January. It is tangible evidence that something has been missing the last few months. We have been waiting and waiting for something that simply has not come.
Winter…an entire SEASON…has passed us by.
We waited patiently to wear cute sweaters. We hoped for opportunities to wrap up in colorful scarves and warm hats. Heavy coats were rarely removed from closets. Hot cocoa and marshmallows were bypassed, leaving large mugs devoid of the winter treat. The fireplace stood cold, dark and neglected. There were no chances for the kids to sleep with spoons under pillows and pajamas inside out in joyful, excited anticipation of a snow day. Sleds and snowboots remained dust-covered in basements. Winter just never came.
All of this left me feeling…well…duped and somehow vaguely confused. How is it possible that spring is dawning when winter never came? It’s a blit like starting a new book when the last chapter of another has not been read. It’s oddly disorienting.
Just as I was about to give up on winter EVER making an appearance, we had a little cold snap last week. And by little, I mean little. Very little.
BUT…it was cold enough to be…hmmm…shall we say…unpleasant?
We had to find coats that, in all honesty, are much too heavy for March. The girls went frantically digging through laundry baskets to find long knee socks so their legs wouldn’t freeze under uniform skirts. Parents on the sidelines of newly begun spring sport practices grumbled and shivered. Even the dog refused to go outside. The daffodils wilted and drooped, conceding to the chill. It made everyone want to stay inside where it was warm. It was unpleasant. It was cold.
All of this served to remind me that winter might be a wee bit over-rated. In my romanticized notions I had forgotten that winter could be cold, inconvenient, and down right unpleasant some days. It was not all cocoa, snow days and warm hearth fires.
One of my favorite writers, Anne Bradstreet, wrote:
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
And I think she is spot on. However, maybe every once in a while, by the Grace of God, we are given a pass. A winter without bitter cold and unpleasant inconveniences is a gift. A season in our lives without hardship is a blessing not to go unnoticed.
All it took for me was a quick chill when I had grown accustomed to easy mild days to remind me of how lucky we have been! Delicate January cherry blossoms sure beat barren trees. Bright, cheery daffodils lining our walkway have way more curb-appeal than dirty, melted snow. Carolina blue skies are much more promising than heavy gray clouds.
There is unspoken promise in all that comes with the pleasantness of spring. And is a true gift when it is granted to us without having to endure the difficulties of a harsh winter. Perhaps it is then that we are called to appreciate it even more.