Someone forgot to tell the clouds it is spring. We awoke this morning to an inch of snow on the grass. Not on the concrete or asphalt of the streets, mind you, just the grass. The children are not going to miss a day of school and commuters will not be delayed because of the crystalized white stuff, but in terms of morale it is a terrible reminder that winter is not finished with us yet. “Now is the winter of our discontent.” says Richard III in the opening line of the play of the same name by William Shakespeare. Boy, did he have that right. Maybe Richard was talking about his discontent over his brother Edward gaining the crown. Or maybe he was in anguish over being a lame hunchback in comparison to his “Sun” King brother but no matter. We borrow his words for today.
Winter has many allegories but discontent is the center of them all. For instance, winter of life refers to being aged; nuclear winter refers to the time after a cataclysmic nuclear event which throws our planet into a perpetual winter resulting in the death of all living things; winter is a time of life and death struggle against the elements in which all living things fight to live. Only the heartiest or the smartest win this battle. Cozied up in our houses with forced central heating, fireplaces and snuggly sweaters we look out at winter and wait for spring while outside creatures of the wild, both large and small battle the cold to stay alive. Winter can also be a symbol of being frozen in place. Artists and writers are the most commonly referenced for this type of creative lock-up but people from all walks of life can experience a winter of the soul.
Life guarantees nothing save a winter of the soul experience. Add that to Benjamin Franklin’s quote, please. “The only things certain in life are death and taxes“, and if you live long enough, a winter of the soul experience. Thank-you. Feel free to use that line anytime but make sure you reference properly.
Now that we have had our little break from seriousness, I would like to end on an encouraging note. By now you have identified either a past winter of the soul experience or have been reminded of an ongoing winter of the soul circumstance. First, I am sorry for your pain and the cold wind that blows over bare soil covering your loss. Second, pick up your beverage of choice from the fridge, coffee pot or microwave and go to the window. Look out. What do you see? Is there a fine layer of snow on the grass? Are there clouds frowning from the sky? Is the sun struggling to add a cheery light over the brown and gray landscape? Now reach beyond what you see and listen. Do you hear the chirp of a bird, the bark of a dog or the snore of your cat dozing on a pillow like I do? Okay, maybe not the cat or the dog, but let’s focus on the bird.
When you hear a bird sing it means winter will not win. Spring will come. I believe death is not the end and one day the Son will appear and make all things new. This discontent I feel is because there was never supposed to be winter in any form, whether it be of the soul or covering the ground with snow. We wait in this intemperate state for our Redeemer King to end our winter of discontent and begin the eternal spring.
In The Kitchen Again Soups, Stews and Casseroles (Kindle Edition)