Winter in the North holds sway with deadly cold, treacherous layers of ice and snow, power outages, and broken water mains.
When humans struggle to survive, and some poor souls die from exposure, how can a feathered body the size of a plum keep from freezing stiff? How does that tiny heart keep beating, its blood keep flowing? If I feel chilled in my insulated, minimally heated basement, how can there be the sound of a sparrow chirping outside my window on this March morning?
Sweeter than honey are such natural miracles of the Creator’s magical mystery tour.
Metaphorical winters can be deadly, too. Bitter losses and tragedies can smother joy like snow piled high. And still our hearts melt at kind words and stories of compassionate outreach.
In Marianne Robinson’s novel, Lila, she offers an acute perspective on the jarring discomfort we feel when life tosses us between beauty and horror. An elderly minister in the story drafts his sermon and we read this poetic wisdom,
“Life on earth is difficult
Our experience is fragmentary.
Its parts don’t add up.
They don’t even belong in the same calculation.
Sometimes it is hard to believe they are all parts of one thing….
joy can be joy
and sorrow can be sorrow
with neither of them casting
either light or shadow on the other.”
Hang on for a wilder ride than any drug trip: