I’m staring right down the barrel of yet another Michigan winter. Last winter nearly crushed me both spiritually and physically and this winder will be no less harsh. Every winter for the last 10 years has been a type of Russian roulette, how lucky will you be? Will you make it though this one? Roll the chamber, pull the trigger, see if January comes. If it does, try it again with February.
It’s not the darkness, the grey skies and the cold air and snow that strangle my heart – it’s the endless hours of moderating Bethany in a small house in a small town surrounded by a big world. It’s the ever-present sound of screaming, hitting, smashing. It’s the color of a saddened wife, the temperament of a frustrated son and the hopelessly infrequent spurts of laughter and joy.
All the “self-actualized” people I meet in life, the ones who speak of balanced diet, meditation, rejuvenation spas, 8 hours of sleep a night, “me time”… they all hold one central theme in mind: to live in the moment. Were I to actually live in the moment, I’d likely consider suicide. The moment sucks. The moment is composed of filthy diapers, things I don’t want to do, don’t need to do (save for the request of others). The moment is filled with inequality, tragedy, graft and sorrow and I want no more of it.
We, on the other hand, live on the promise of “yet to come”, and we dare not think too far in the future. Our life is a constant state of dreaming about 5 hours from now. Long range planning means “Thursday”. “Meditation and reflection” are the morning and evening devotion sessions that typically happen while either looking through a windshield or dropping a head on a pillow. Both sessions are usually anything but a litany, there’s no abject formality aside form the acknowledgement of the sovereign greatness of God… We move right to a discussion that’s in reality been a daylong dialogue anyway and then in characteristic form, I fall asleep mid-sentence.
It’s hard when Bethany’s in a good state and nearly impossible when in a bad one. There’s no predictability to what state will cross your path nor how long that particular mood will last. Always on guard, always thinking one step ahead, always, always, always. Can’t even sit in a chair without taking advantage of the moment to do something that most people do mid-day. I was listening to some old preacher on the radio out in the garage; he was speaking with a characteristically southern, Baptist drawl while explaining how simple it is to “just lay all those cares at the fayte of Jayzzus”. He went on to say that “Jayzzus will carry all your burdens no maytter how difficult”. His must be a different Jesus than mine; mine does a nice job of reminding me that I left something there on the sidewalk.
The days grow shorter, the nights longer. Its tougher to get motivated and range of activities we can do with her begin their seasonal decline. The beauty of the cold seasons gets more difficult to find and things I leave at the feet of Jesus continue to pile up like unshoveled snow. I hope this winter he picks a few up as we’re about ready to simply lay back in that snow and wait for the frozen numbness to overtake us, to snuff the last glow of summer allowing the winds of winter to cover the place we lay till we’re known of no more.