It’s been a long… hard…. winter.
Somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a polar shift occurred moving the center of frozenness from the Arctic to Ft. Wayne IN. Said polar vortex hovered for four months as snow-storm after snow-storm pounded the upper mid-west. Record breaking snow-falls hammered Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit… and Ft. Wayne as the cold drained countless car batteries and many people of their sanity.
I watched from my relative comfort of Nashville as forecast after forecast was posted on FB about the “next” cold blast that would dump 6-8 inches at a time, sometimes 2-3 a week! My cousin/slash/sister, Heather kept me informed of the never-ending parade of ice and snow as more frozen despair settled down over the city that was Ft. Wayne.
I made seven trips to Indianapolis and Ft. Wayne / Chicago this winter, five of them were legit adventures in winter survival as 8-12 inches of snow would land sometime during each visit. The cold was arctic – “freeze your face off” – kind of cold and the snow was morphing from powdery white to ash colored concrete as each push of the plows turned the salt and dirt into a hellish frozen slushee.
The clouds were gray, hanging just over the tree-tops and cold wind kept your “un-cool” winter hat firmly on your head. Sunshine became a myth. Only weak patches of dim light ever glimmered through the winter haze, and the locals became at first despairing, then angry and sullen…until finally desperate, they started to wonder if they were trapped in a perverse version of a “ground-hog day” movie set.
It was a difficult season for me personally as I had dark challenges at home that weighed heavily on my mind and heart. As I would drive up from Nashville to Indiana, I would listen to books on tape and drink Red Bull, checking out what the latest on pop radio had to offer. But it was the big-ticket payoff in Ft. Wayne that brought the true light back into my otherwise darkening world.
My six month old cousin/nephew/Godson – “Andreas” was waiting at the end of each 8 hour drive. His presence was like a glowing warm blanket on a bitter cold day, hearing him laugh was amazing! His toothless smile brightened any bad-day, fresh and full of life…just holding him lifted all our spirits.
Giggles and a sing-song, drooling baby voice woke me up every morning, laughing to himself contentedly in his crib across the hall. I found myself laughing along, crying quiet tears of gratitude at his simple innocence and love for life. Bouncing curls of red and blond kept his little baby face framed with the beauty that only a baby has. His dimpled cheeks and glowing skin reminded me of the freshness of new life, and I realized the heart-beat of this child, was gently restoring new hope to this “old” soul of mine.
A baby was all it took for God to change my dark winter of despair into a beautiful, life-giving sacred retreat for the few hours I had to share.
After each and every trip to Ft. Wayne, I would leave with a skip in my step, renewed vitality in my soul, eager to live again. It seemed that in the middle of despair, hope was re-born. Literally and figuratively, as my God-son jump-started my heart again.
I was reminded of how God is so faithful to send us the “perfect” encouragement… a light into our darkness. He brings spring breezes blowing into our dark winters and He will bring hope back into our exhausted lives.
I know I’m not the only one who had a long, hard winter… and you may feel ‘stuck” and that life is only dank & gray, but it’s not true. God is always at work, moving- shaping and remaking things all around and within us. He’s just about to surprise you with new-life, you watch and see ! Hang on dear one!
Spring is coming….