Archives For life

sun

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis

This might sound bizarre. In fact, it is bizarre. But sometimes, when the sun is at its warmest and the skies at their bluest, I find myself longing for winter.

It’s not that I don’t love the sun. I cherish its warmth, the way the world feels more optimistic when it shines, the way it accentuates the vivid spectrum of colours that paint our world. Yet something within me pines for winter.

***

I think it is because when I am enclosed by the cold grip of winter and defined by the darkness that it brings, I appreciate and recognise the importance of the sun more.

Those things I love about the sun – its brightness, its warmth, its life – I recall only rarely while I can feel its gentle warmth upon my face. The value of the sun is diminished by its constant presence.

Rather like a low hum in a quiet room, after a while it becomes background noise, until it is either muted or drowned out by a louder voice.

This is not the sun’s fault, but my own.

***

From this, two challenges – or perhaps opportunities – present themselves. One is to continue to nurture the memory of the sun during the winter period. To recall its hope, remember its beauty, to cling to its life during the dark months.

The other is to recognise the presence of the sun while it shines. To not become so familiar with it that it becomes merely a background hue. To appreciate it in the here and now.

To bask in its warmth. To live in it.

***

“And then her heart changed, or at least she understood it; and the winter passed, and the sun shone upon her.” J.R.R. Tolkien

A life of seasons

September 26, 2012 — Leave a comment

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I’m quite a big fan of weather.

It’s not the coolest thing. But I love huge variations in weather, from blisteringly hot summer days to bitingly cold winter nights. There’s something about the ever-changing nature of the weather which I find intriguing.

With that in mind, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about seasons – both seasons of weather and seasons of life.

In nature, seasons are part of the intrinsic cycle of life. Spring offers new life and green shoots, which bloom and flourish in summer. Autumn heralds the beginning of the end of this time of colour, whilst winter superficially seems dead but nests next spring’s hope underneath its cold blanket.

This cycle comes and goes each year. There are variations, yes, but the overall cycle is the same. Without fail.

***

I think the same is true of our lives. I don’t know whether we follow the same set pattern that nature does. I think it’s probably not quite as structured and planned as that.

But our lives go in seasons. There are times when we are full of hope and expectation, when there are new beginnings and opportunities. These times often turn into summer seasons, when we flourish and grow.

Then there are autumn times, when it can feel as if nothing is happening and we are treading water. During autumn, it can feel a little as if the good things are dying off, as if we are losing them. Autumn invariably leads to winter, where we find ourselves hopeless, lost and without direction.

A life of seasons.

***

Ideally, we’d be able to lose the winter season, make the spring and autumn shorter and spend most of our time in the summer. Ideally. But in the same way that nature would not be able to survive on just one season alone, the same is true with us.

The seasons all have a value, all have a purpose. Even if sometimes, that purpose can be painful. The winter season can be long and bleak. But it teaches us to trust, to remember that spring and summer will come, and to rely on the roots we have grown in the warm seasons.

Seasons come and go, but God’s love never once falters or fails, never lessens or becomes conditional. Despite the seasons, God’s love runs through them all.

That promise is what we root ourselves in.

***

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” Lewis Carroll

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

“We meet again, at the turn of the tide. A great storm is coming, but the tide has turned.” JRR Tolkien.

When I think about my relationship with God at the moment, the only way I can begin to describe it is with a roller coaster. Since I lost my job a few weeks ago, I’ve fluctuated between excitement and dread, hope and fear, expectation and resignation.

Some days I wake up and I’m fully confident that God and I are together on this adventure. I’m completely sure that he has the plans laid out for me, that it’s only a matter of time before he lets me know and we get on with living the dream.

But some days I wake up, and I get this feeling in my gut, this worry, concern, fear. That I don’t know what’s going on, and that I’m not sure God does either. It sounds stupid to say that, but that’s sometimes how it feels. It’s not how I feel, but it’s how the process feels.

***

I’ve written about it here recently, but I can’t seem to get away from talking about storms at the moment. The last two weeks at church we’ve looked at Jesus leading his disciples into the boat and into the storm.

Christ leads them there.

***

All of this comes together when I feel like God has forgotten what’s going on in my life. When Jesus was asleep on the boat in the midst of the storm (Matthew 8:23-27) he hadn’t forgotten the disciples. He hadn’t abandoned them.

They might have felt forgotten, felt like Jesus was ignoring them. But he wasn’t. He knew what he was doing.

That’s the truth I keep reminding myself of at the moment. God has not forgotten me and will not forget me. He does not and will not forget any one of us.

Through the highs and lows, his loves outshines the darkest darkness.