Baby, it’s cold outside! I sing to keep my spirits up, after moving from semi-sunny Victoria to frozen through and through Edmonton! Brrrr. But then… then I brave up! And walk—bundled to the hilt of course, and dressed from head to toe for blizzard conditions (my kids say I look like a big marshmallow!). I walk around the neighbourhood and drink in the view through the bare branched trees. So bare and vulnerable, yet strong and sure in the winter. Now and then covered in hoarfrost, they take my breath away.
Sometimes I venture down to river’s edge and stroll (my hubby calls it speed-walking!) along a snowy path lined by trees filled with ravens and chickadees and bird feeders fashioned from milk cartons. I watch the ice take over the river—ALMOST—there always seems to be one open-water spot. I watch braver people than me jog past. I watch dads pull small red-cheeked bundles on sleds. I watch winter.
WINTER IS A SEASON OF LOW, SLOW STIMULATION. Deep breaths. Awesome beauty. Frozen hands and chilly toes and keeping each other warm at night. Guilt-free hot chocolate and long lazy afternoons curled up with a good book. Winter sits and waits… sits and waits. Like a field left fallow. A to-do list tossed in the fire. It brings the luxury of forgetfulness. Of full-throated complaint. Of shared misery. And so much silence.
This morning I was THANKFUL, on my walk bundled to the hilt, to think how the things that feed the soul are not the things the world offers. Boredom. Silence. Shared misery. Breathtaking moments watching ice gather along the edges of a river. A foot massage. The list goes on for as long as my speedy stroll on this extra cold time of the year lasts, and then I hear a word from God. He reminds me of what Jesus told Peter in a season of waiting… “Feed my sheep,” he said. “Feed my sheep.”
And I felt a new thing RISING UP, I sensed that to feed the soul, to extol the things that matter to us most—underneath all our layers of comfort and warmth—was partly what the Lord meant. To feed his sheep is to feed the soul: to remind each other not to fear, that even in the tougher, colder, leaner times, God is in the details as much as He is in the cosmic plan for our life.
As we wait—often for sunnier, warmer weather and times—we absorb deeper lessons that can’t be learned in the jostle and hum of summer. Jesus got his disciples alone to unpack the future; to tell them what trials awaited them in Jerusalem, and what triumph lay just beyond. By learning to trust the details, even the detail of waiting, they learned to trust the bigger plan. To trust God—in winter.