Winter of the SoulPosted on Feb 26, 2014 | 5 comments
Winter has this way of creeping into a soul. I see this, not only in mine own life, but in my oldest son, as his growing, energy-riddled, restless youth struggles to find a way to live through the cold, dark, lonely months of this season. Sometimes, he gives into the battle and all the frustration and anger and angst pour out like a dark, icy flood…and I am choking, treading water, trying to find two life preservers, one for him and one for me, before we both drown. Yet, our hearts both beat on…proof that grace is still present and sorrow won’t kill. And on one afternoon, as an arctic blasts screams around our window panes, he sits down at the piano and plays perfectly….
Jesus, Lover of my soul
Let me to Thy bosom fly
While the nearer waters roll
While the tempest still is nigh
Hide me, oh my Savior hide
Til the storm of life is past
Safe into Thy haven guide
Oh receive my soul at last.
And I am chopping onions for dinner, with my back turned, and tears are rolling down my face. He played it flawlessly. He’s never done that before. He quit a couple years ago because his mind, his fingers, and the piano keys were rarely in sync with each other. I listen in awe. There is something bigger, Someone more powerful carrying us through this winter of our discontent.
It is later in the week now. We sit shoulder to shoulder, him and I, so alike though not related by blood…him impatient to be done with this season of life, me impatient to fix him, to solve his problems…and we read the history books open in our lap. We are startled anew, as we always are when studying the Revolutionary War, that the American Patriots struggled through their own winters and yet, did not give up. We read again of the Valley Forge account, barefoot soldiers in the snow, frostbitten and half-starved following their beloved George Washington through icy rivers and finding their strength to rally yet again, and bring about a major American victory.
What? If winters do give way to victory, what must one arm themselves with in order find themselves on the other side…not frozen to death on the trail?
Oh, Jesus Lover of our souls…grant us faith in Your leadership, let us never lose sight of Your big foot prints marking the way through all this snow. And grant us a portion of “your inexhaustible power from the storehouse of your glorious might that we might endure and have patience to wait this out with joy, while we give thanks.” (Col. 1:11-12)
And that is my clue…the answer to my own question. For every soul that has survived their winters has a story to tell of faith in Someone, something greater that themselves, of enduring storms that chilled them to the bone, and of long hours of waiting for that lull or break or victory or first day of spring. And every piece of bread offered to ease their starvation pangs, every ray of sun that broke through the clouds, every moment absent of fear, they held onto with both grasping hands, and they gave thanks.
We put away the books and tidy up the table. We both are thoughtful as we set the table for dinner and listen to the scream of the wind. We are waiting, enduring. And I am praying for patience for this mother and son, both so ready to be done with pain..and while I pray, I give thanks for the broad, dark shoulders and the long, dark fingers pounding out on the piano keys a grace of a hymn.