New Thought Editorials > After the Winter's Snows

 

Spring 2014

After the Winter's Snows

Those of us living in North America are particularly pleased to welcome spring this year, since the weather in so many places has been quite challenging. Sometimes challenges seem to drag on forever, and we begin to wonder whether they will ever end. At such times we turn to solace such as Masefield’s "After the winter snows/ A wind of healing blows/ And thorns put forth a rose/ And lilies cheer us", or Joel 2:25: "I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten".

On the other hand, there is a bit of doggerel whose author I have forgotten: "‘If winter comes,’ the old-time adage ran, ‘Can spring be far behind?’ You bet it can!" You may have noticed that whether or not the ground hog sees his shadow, we have six more weeks of winter!

But spring does eventually get here, even though we and much of the shrubbery in the yard are a bit the worse for wear. The days do get longer, the swallows come back to Capistrano, and the mountain of snow in the corner of the parking lot really does melt before July. This isn’t Narnia, where during the reign of the White Witch, it was always winter but never Christmas. And then when the snow melts, we complain about the mud!

However, even for New Thoughters, a certain amount of complaining is actually energizing. I have always liked Barbara Sher’s description of a student complaining about hating a homework assignment, throwing the papers on the floor and stomping on them, then quietly picking them up and getting the work done. That said, it is still true that like attracts like. Do you really want to attract more of whatever you were complaining about? The characters in the old television series M.A.S.H., living daily with grim and tragic circumstances, still managed to find a great deal to laugh about; and they used the substance at hand to create a certain amount of pleasure for themselves and others. They did not allow themselves to dwell for long on miseries, misunderstandings, and injustices.

Perhaps the best image of this approach is reading seed catalogues during a winter snowstorm and picturing the flowers we would like to see in the spring. I have never seen an ode to a snow shovel, but plenty has been written to extol the beauties of spring with its returning life of all sorts. Having just come through a prolonged "winter" of my own, when everything in my life appeared to be on hold and at times I doubted whether it ever would end favorably, I can vouch for the fact that a determined and sustained attempt to look for the good in the present circumstances, along with planning for better circumstances, definitely helps one get through. So did noticing and appreciating the creature comforts I had, especially when I finally moved into my brand-new dream home and found that—at least temporarily—I didn’t even have some of those! God has a weird sense of humor.

God orchestrates, and God mitigates. The Bible is full of instances of his doing both. God does not send evil or misfortune, even though he has established a neutral environment so that we may have free will; and that neutral environment includes such things as winter with its attendant difficulties. God inspired someone to invent the snow shovel, which mitigates our seasonal difficulties.

God also created other human beings. All through my difficulties, I was conscious of the prayers of other people uplifting and sustaining me, as well as the actions of assorted angels at work in my life. God thought and decreed the world into being, and we can do the same in our individual worlds. We can emulate God, as Jesus did, and influence events to an astonishing degree. And if we happen to live in pleasant places, we can pray for our less-fortunate friends and send them sunny thoughts and seed catalogues.