I always remember winter. It’s scathed in the bitter suffering of cold and dank gloom.When I put my mind to it, the warmth of a summer sun surrounds whatever ingredients I am; a physical entity of blood and bone, a product of my upbringing, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a teacher, a Christian, a woman, once a daughter. All of it is warmed by the summer sun that envelopes and penetrates whatever is left of my soul in a life so demanding. To be surrounded in light is the expression of living life in its fullest intent. But winter, oh winter; that sharp searing burn of unconsionable pain. Winter shows no compassion, no remorse, and no conscience. Winter doesn’t surround you. Winter fills you from the inside out with burning ice of the most heinous intentions.
There have probably been times in everyone’s life when winter seems to leave its nap of serrated edges in the very marrow of our bones. These are the times when the world turns and tilts and our souls can’t notice the approach of summer’s sun. Most of these times come from loss of something meaningful in our lives. Sometimes the neverending winters we are living can smother us from fear or the cruel intentions of others. Almost always, it is accompanied by that dark sensation of freefall; that feeling we feel before we hit the ground when we slip on the ice or tople off of a high ledge. For that split second, we don’t know how we will land, what will break in side of us, or if we will even lose consciousness. Then again, in that split second we consider that, after all, we may be OK. Then it ends in seconds that seem like minutes. We rise up from the mishap, brush ourselves off, and keep on going. Sometimes. Sometimes we don’t.
As we look back on our own shortcoming, our own flaws and our own creations of our self imposed winter, only those who harbor some sense of awareness or a connection to reality know that we are not perfect. None of us are. Neither are our enemies. In that, we are all in this together. It is when we learn how to pray for our enemies, those who would just as soon see us harmed, that when we begin to live.
Joy brings us there.
Joy is not something that we “happen upon”. It is not something that seeks us out. Joy is something that we go in search of. In the process of reclaiming our joy, we sometimes have monumental tasks of thawing the most persistant winters in our lives. When we turn and face the sun, there is a scar that only forgiveness can heal.
When I first met him, he came to me in a winter of my life. The issues and gross imperfections that I carried with me began to melt in the light of his goodness. Knowing this man, I didn’t see it coming. I touched the face of God and didn’t even know it. Steadfast in our criticisms of religion and the religious, we both relished in the science and all that there was, never even considering that there was anything else, never even considering that where we walked, ran, and tarried was the very canvas of God. Both of us snubbed the smallest consideration of the divine.
Today, we have come 180 degrees toward the light. Winters keep the sun inside of our soul, We smile in the light of all that there is, amazed and saturated with the love between us; a love that would take a miracle just to have us meet. Reflection is an obvious joy of involvement of the unseen; some direction of consciousness that brought us to this point. Joy comes from powers beyond human capabilities because the human experience tends to gravitate toward winter. Something, somewhere targets us for the light. Somehow, we always land on our feet, regardless of our ignorance and blind flailing of failure we are all so determined to manifest. If this is not you, then perhaps you are perfect. If you are perfect, then you may walk away with your heavy and bulbous head bobbling on thin shoulders and fade into your own winter of perfection. If you realize you are not perfect, then welcome. We are all in this together.