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See! The Winter

This was the message I received during the winter while on a Silent Retreat. We began the day with lectio divina on Song of Songs 2:10-13:

“My lover spoke and said to me, Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”

The word or phrase that spoke to me was “See! The winter is past.” What a lovely thought. I connected it to the truth in my life that a crisis that I had experienced was resolved.

After the meditation I stayed inside praying and thinking other thoughts. When I got up to go outside and walk, as soon as I opened the door I heard God’s voice loud and strong in my heart. He said, “See! The winter.” Now, I had a different message. I heard God inviting me to see the winter. What a perfect place to see the winter and with perfect weather (for a Florida girl). Although the weather was more like spring, the reality of a Texas winter was evident all around the retreat center. The trees were barren and everything was different shades of brown with bright green weeds dotting the landscape. I looked around and I did indeed see the winter.

The first realization I made was that winter gives you a truer perspective of what really is. I remembered my visit to this same retreat center the previous fall. I remembered looking up and seeing a cross way up in the sky. I looked around the retreat center to see where it came from, and after a while I discovered that it was not on the campus at all but off in the distance, probably attached to a church in the neighborhood that surrounded the center. In winter I could see clearly that the cross was not part of this facility. Without the leaves from the trees blocking my view, I had a clear sight of the rooftop of the church, and it brought everything into better perspective.

Next, I looked into a grove of trees and noticed that there were some fall trees that were no longer alive. They could be hindering new growth and perhaps could be taken out. I’m not a horticulturist so I don’t know this for a fact. I did think about the truth that in winter you can see more clearly the parts of your life that may not be growing and that need to go if you expect more growth.

I began to perceive winter as a vital season setting up all the growth that was actually just beginning that February day. The growth was made possible by the rest of winter. The growth is meant for a season, but cannot endure without a break. It is just like my spiritual life. I need rest to grow.

Seeing the winter was such a gift to me that I wanted to share my experience with you. Depending on what part of the world you live in, winter may be long gone or just leaving. If you have the privilege of reading this in winter, I encourage you too to see the winter and embrace the season for all its goodness.

 

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