I am most certain I could not survive winter in any other place in the world. If it actually snowed where I lived, if we had blizzards or ice or any kind of frozen precipitation day after day for months on end, I am fairly certain I would not be able to endure it with any amount of sanity or grace.
It is barely winter here. South Texas is fortunate enough to only receive the tail end of any fronts or freezes or arctic blasts. Yet, standing outside in a windy 52 degrees today, I told my friend our conversation was over and I was getting in the car until summer came back.
The cold despises me. Or I despise the cold - I'm not exactly sure which statement is more accurate. Either way, it doesn't fit or feel right and every winter, I find myself wishing it away. January has always been the month I get through and survive. As soon as the holidays are gone and Christmas is boxed back up into the attic, I am ready for spring and the warmth of the sunshine. I find it rude that the newness of the year has to come with the winter. I happen to think that the new year should be in the spring when everything is green and lovely. And alive.
This particular season makes me want to hunker down. To hide even. To stay indoors, covered in blankets with a warm mug of coffee and a good book. To isolate and retreat. Winter makes my very social self, anti-social. I listen to different styles of music - like soft, lyric-less compositions. I live in my warm comfy pants and Todd's wool socks, which sadly isn't acceptable work attire. Getting out of bed in the morning and showered and ready to take on the day is a chore - partly because it activates my Rheumatoid Arthritis and partly because staying in bed sounds more appealing than any other possible thing. I become almost hermit-like, craving the quiet, and surrendering to the death I am surrounded by outside hoping to just get by and get through it.
Just like the seasons change and winter's arrival comes every year, I go through the same cycles and patterns within myself and even with my faith in God. If the sun is furthest away from my part of the earth in the winter, than I also feel that God is the farthest from me then also. That I am furthest away from the truest version of me. Nature goes to sleep, it rests. Likewise, I do the same, but usually in unhealthy ways that involve consuming too many warm baked goods and sitting on my couch so long I leave a permanent dent from my lethargy.
I feel like God is distant and small in winter. He becomes a faint memory of some fabulous summer vacation we had together. And I wait for Him to return in all of His glory and sunshine and show off with making things new in the spring. God isn't as show-offy in winter. He seems to be quiet much like the winter that settles in around me in gray skies and barren trees.
Just today I journaled the words, "I feel like you left me. It's winter and you leave me every winter."
Tonight, as I sit here in my familiar comfy pants and Todd's wool socks and black hoodie because we refuse to turn on the heater, I am curious about what it might be like to winter well. Where I might find God in this season if I were to look for Him. And if I might be able to rest, really, truly rest in a season that does nothing but invite that very thing.