In the bleak mid-winter, 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 mid-winter, long ago. ~ Hymnbook 1982
Isn’t that quote a Christmas song, has she lost it? You may ask. No, I’m not crazy but I just read an article which said that the Meteorological Winter is December, January, and February, so on January 15, we are smack dab in mid-winter. The song fits.
I don’t care for winter anyway– actual winter or spiritual winter. My bones hurt, it’s too dark, I have a tendency to depression and, even when the sun is shining, it’s been so cold that going out in it is not a benefit for me. There are places in our yard and street still buried deep in snow. After some thawing yesterday, I finally see a few patches of bare ground in the back yard. And did I mention that we are ONLY in midwinter? I long for spring, but patches of bare ground bring hope.
Winter and periods of darkness are necessary for us. I saw this quote recently, “Sometimes, when you’re in a dark place, you think you have been buried, but actually, you have been planted.” I don’t know who wrote it but it causes me to pause. Seeds need to have a period of darkness in order to grow and be healthy. This is also true for our spiritual growth. Without times of darkness and quiet, we will cease to grow strong. Do I enjoy this? Nooo!! But at least I’m beginning to understand it. A bit.
This week I had lunch with a friend I don’t often see. Occasionally, we are able to catch up with each other. We have both had a difficult year from which we are struggling to recover. She is trying to give her decisions and her healing process to God. So am I. She said the way she has been praying, recently, came from Jesus’ first miracle story, the making of wine at a wedding. Actually it came from Mary’s request. Mary told Jesus one thing only, “They have no wine” (John 2:3). My friend had been reflecting on how Mary only stated the need and then left the situation in the hands of Jesus. She trusted that Jesus had it covered and she didn’t need to tell him what to do.
Today, the Gospel lesson (John 2:1-12) from Morning Prayer included this story. Hmm…. Mary is an inspiration, isn’t she? When told, earlier, by the angel that she was to bear the Son of God, although not really understanding, she said, “Let it be so, as God wills.” Her simple acceptance of God’s will for her shows her relationship with Him. “They have no wine,” is a simple prayer request stating her need. How would our prayers be if we accepted God’s will so completely and stated our needs so simply? Would our darkness be lighter?
I have a couple of things that are up in the air. I would like resolution. I want to know what’s up because of my basic, not totally healed, insecurity. I get a bit anxious when I have situations that require decisions which will change my life, but I can’t make anything happen, yet. It’s out of my control and patience is not my strong suit some days. What if I only said “I need/they need (or want)__________” and “Be it to me as God wills” then go about my daily stuff realizing that God is working for my good whatever that is. Can’t hurt to give it a try, can it?
“What can I give him, poor as I am? if I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part; yet what I can I give him—give my heart.