Vortices

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Today we welcome a guest blogger to The TwelveThom Fiet is pastor with the Pleasant Plains Presbyterian Church, found in God’s Hudson Valley. Thanks, Thom!

At what point do we move from being philosophical about this winter to slipping into brooding, then annoyance, then, heavens, threatening to move to Coral Gables with the other manatees? I remember my father usually snapping in the beginning of March, the month in Michigan most laced with betrayal. He was buoyant for eleven months, but I feared March would force him to drink heavily from a Styrofoam cup, or become a member of the Tea Party, or wearing plaid again, or descending to bass fishing.

This winter, with its polar vortices, one after the next, has brought many of us to the point of secular sobriety, some wearing a blank stare at Adams Fairacre Farms (last week my cashier could not identify an avocado).

It’s got me thinking about waiting, and how often that theme we find embedded in one story after the next in the scriptures. Waiting. Abraham and Sarah. Joseph. Moses and his people. Ruth. David. Isaiah. Jeremiah. Noah (who drank from a Styrofoam cup). There is an awful lot of waiting in the Bible. Even God is loitering, the man at the bus station tapping His nicotine fingers, staring up at the godless departure board, nothing much happening; get close and He is telling the same stories, each one we finish for Him. His Son lifts the matter to a cosmic level when he tells his disciples and all the world to wait for his return. That was a million manatees ago. A long dog walk of barren carcinogen waiting if you asked me.

Seeing how often the subject arises, is there any redemption in the waiting, when it is no longer funny? Is there any redemption when the winter causes us to forget the name of an avocado? As bad as that.

Even in the deep winter of our lives, when it seems endless and numbing, is there some ray of light and warmth to be found?

Many of us have had more than the cold on our minds this winter. While we wait, some of us fight for our lives as we greet our fifth tumor into this world. Others add another loved one to the chorus of those we must grieve. Job transitions found our way to us, not a single one born in a dream. Some witness relationships freezing over into a block of ice.

Even so, as we wait, new friendships are forming. God tells a new joke and we all laugh. Cards from hypothermic hands are being written and sent. Love is being made somewhere under the covers. Prayers, hot at times, are lifted up to the eves. An old friend finally climbs out of his snow drift. We finally read that book on Lincoln. We tie a new fly. Students are nodding in comprehension. Avocados are at last named. Christ tells us to hang on a little longer, and we do. It is beautiful, especially in the waiting, in this winter that will not let us go.

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