Indiana winter this year has been one for the snow lovers--and cold lovers--and sledding lovers. I determined years ago that I would not let weather define my mood or what I do. Life is too short to let things I can do nothing about control how I live my life or how I feel about life.

But, I have to admit, this winter has been pretty weighty. The sub-zero weather that follows snow storms has secured the snow in permanent piles beside our driveway. Those who live in our city without adequate shelter have struggled to not only stay warm but, in too many cases, to stay alive. Those who are waiting through the winter of their soul find a companion in the weather even as they ache for a sign of new life emerging. The ubiquitous light of the media simply reminds us of the dark winter freeze.

I don't have answers to how we might speed through to spring. Thaw comes in its own time.  But, I think one way to carry the weight of winter is to partner with others. Reach out to those whom you know and offer them warm hospitality in your home. Share a hot cup of care by sending someone a greeting.  Light a candle in the cold by calling someone whose icy burden weights their soul. Companions may not have answers to weighty questions but they can help you know you are not alone.

And as you companion each other, hold hard to the hope that the snow will melt and that somewhere a sprig of spring will one day emerge. Allow that hope to warm your heart that holds the dark burden of pain and oppressive fear. Remember, under the snow is a seed that, with the warming sun, becomes a rose.


What a mess!!  I sit here in the middle of chaos.  We are having new carpet installed in our house. Every room is filled with the stuff of our life--all in the wrong place.  Professional carpet layers are crawling around on the floor making sure that all is done right. An industrial sized radio is blaring country music.  What happened to my home?

So much of our feeling of well-being is related to the space we inhabit. Most of us work to create space where we feel safe and comfortable.  The stuff we have is there to help us be what we want to be or remind us of what we have been.  We arrange it and organize it so we can move with some comfort and ease. We organize our stuff in our house so it feels like home.

When that gets disrupted, we become anxious and sometimes hard to get along with.  We don't like feeling so unsettled. It is hard not knowing where our coffee pot is.

Fortunately, this will end.  The workers will leave this afternoon and we will begin to put our life back together. Some of the stuff will go back where it was.  Other stuff will find a new home. Some will leave via the church thrift shop.  In a few days, we will be back to some semblance of order.

Other disruptions and the ensuing chaos doesn't end as quickly.  When we lose people who help our life feel ordered and safe, we get angry and feel scared.  We are not just uncomfortable for a few days, but we may be disoriented for months or even years.  The empty chair at the holiday table is not just painful, but it is frightening.  We project that empty space into all the holidays in the future. It just doesn't feel good anymore.

Patience is an easy word to say and a terribly hard word to live. Yet, it takes a lot of it to endure the pain of the emptiness and find the energy to discover a new order in chaos we feel in the upheaval. It helps to find someone to share the space and the disorder with. Find someone to sit with and cry.  Find someone to listen to you as you talk your way forward. Speaking about your pain and fear helps you order your emotions so that you can imagine a new order in your life.