I am a Winter-ist
” . . . our bodies had no rest . . . we were afflicted in every way—disputes without and fears within . . . .” – 2 Corinthians 7:2-12
I have winter-ism. I am a winter-ist. I am prejudiced against winter, the color of its skin, the perplexity of its moods, the way it is both too emotional and not emotional enough at the same time. Does it want to be cold? Or fireplace warmed? Does it want me exposed outdoors, staring at the trees full Monty, or snuggled indoors, incubating? Should I imagine the courage of that first iris in the spring as my weather center or is it the sleep of its coiled roots that give the bloom its life? Why is winter so good at creating disputes without and fears within?
Winter is just a metaphor for death, and death is at least the mother of beauty. Why not treat winter with a similar respect? But then I see how dark connects to my other, more popular and acceptable prejudices, like racism. I wonder if I can dare allow something besides me to be normal. Or acceptable. Or good. I wonder how I can escape the prison of my prejudices and learn to enjoy all that God has made. Only then will my body have rest. Only then will I live beyond the affliction of fights outside and cold within.
O God, take me to the new normal that loves summer and winter, dark and light, others and myself. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Approaching the End of Life: A Practical and Spiritual Guide.