In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.
That poem, written by Christina Rosetti in the 1800s, paints such a stark picture. Earth hard as iron. Water like a stone. Bleak midwinter.
Do you ever have winter like that? I do. The cold is so raw that it eats into your skin. It eats into your soul. Everything feels brittle. Hard. If that isn’t enough, the wind is howling like a freight train, rattling the house.
Sometimes it isn’t quite so cold, but the snow piles up. And up. And up. It doesn’t melt in between. It only compacts from the weight. And we trudge through it, try to plow it out of the way, and dream of spring, which feels like an eternity away.
William Shakespeare began his play Richard III this way, “Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York”. According to Phrases.org, “this phrase lays the groundwork for the portrait of Richard as a discontented man who is unhappy in a world that hates him”.
Whew. The winter of our discontent. We’re not talking about the weather, but about a coldness in Richard’s soul.
Do you ever feel that winter in your soul? I do.
Sometimes it’s the piles of snow on top of one another. Frustrations. Failures. Misunderstandings. They pile up like the snow at the end of the driveway, turning into slush and then cement-like ice. Making it difficult to get in and out. Trapping me in my house.
Sometimes it’s the bitter cold. The winter of my discontent. Anger. Bitterness. Judgement. Biting and sharp, causing frostbite on my extremities and in my heart.
And then there’s the bleak midwinter. Impatience. Inability to see anything but winter. To remember that there was a time before winter or that it will eventually end in spring.
Is there a way to hold spring in our hearts? Yes there is.
By finding the beauty in winter. In summer. In fact, in every season.
The snow is beautiful, covering up the bare, brown ground. The sun sparkles like diamonds, reflecting the ice crystals that make up the snow. Our house feels warm and cozy, sheltering us from the frigid air. We make roasted squash, and comfort food. Winter is beautiful.
Bleak midwinter? Yes. And no.
Beautiful winter? Yes, when you have eyes to see. When you embrace the moment and really live. Even if your earth stands hard as iron, and the water is like a stone, there’s beauty.
Stop. Look. Find beauty in this moment. This day. EVERYday.
How do you embrace the winter-moments of your life? Share below.