This morning I woke up to frost on the trees and the deck and the car. I put on my robe, and boiled the kettle for coffee and pondered the differences between this winter and last.
This time last year it was eight degrees Fahrenheit, and the entire city was covered in layers of alternating snow and ice. I have a very clear memory of telling Jonathan, “We have to get the children out of the house! If the high is above freezing, I’m taking them out. Even if it’s for 30 minutes.” I stuck to it, too. I didn’t have a jacket that closed over the enormity that was the fetal snickerdoodle, but Jonathan’s insulated hunting overalls fit. I went out looking like a hunter with a beer gut just to avoid another day of seeing only the house. Jonathan was on the second of three grand openings he did last winter, and carrying a full course load. It was a long, hard winter.
This winter has been different in every imaginable way! The weather has been more fall like than winter. We’ve had one snowfall and when the temperature is in the 30’s I say, “No, we’ll play outside tomorrow. It’s too cold today.” I can say that because the temperatures haven’t stayed below 40 for more than two days at a time, and if it does I know we’ll be going somewhere to get the kids out of the house. This winter we go to Bible study, ballet, speech therapy, and midweek at church. I’m having a hard time scheduling in time to hang out with my favorite people (apart from my kids. My favorite grown up people.) because we’ve got stuff. If it wasn’t for the snickerdoodle’s nap times, I’d have two or three other things I’d be doing. Jonathan is still working and taking a full load, because this is seminary, but we’re all getting used to it.
More than anything else (and there are a lot of other lessons), seminary is teaching me that nothing lasts forever. In the seminary world, where routine changes every semester, this is magnified; but the same is true in every part of life. One day soon the snickerdoodle (and by extension, ME!) will sleep. When Jonathan graduates the children will be almost 7, almost 5 and 3. That means I will probably leave seminary with three potty trained children, two children in school (!) and presumably everyone will have words. It’s two years and an entire world away!
Last winter felt like it would last forever. But it didn’t. We got through it. It’s a lesson I need to remember when I’m tempted to shout at the Lord for leaving me in some situation longer than I think is necessary for my sanctification (yes, the irony is intended). The winter I’m living in may seem long, but spring will come. It always does.