Search
  • lindseyfuntik

In Sunshine and In Snow

Hello, friends!


It is an absolute honor to be able to place my words on this beautiful outlet that Josiah has created. He and his wife, Laura, are dear friends that never cease to remind me of the Lord’s goodness and unbelievable love for His children. Plus their daughter, Emily, told me that she likes my red lipstick, so the Travis family is forever on my good side!



This photo was taken by Josiah on a snowy day in upstate New York a few years back.


As I was reflecting on the gift that Josiah has given me in this invitation to join his conversation, I realized that our connection goes way back to the 1100’s. My patron saint is Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th century abbess, scientist, poet, and woman of God whose writings have deeply influenced my walk with Jesus. Josiah’s patron saint is Bernard of Clairvaux, an influential abbot who is considered a central leader in Benedictine monasticism and whose writings inspire love and reflection. Back in the day, Hildegard wrote down the visions she had received from God and desired approval from the Pope before she sent them out into the world. She wrote to none other than Bernard of Clairvaux, who advocated for her and essentially said to the authorities, “Hey, this woman is legit. Read what she has written and get to know the Lord better through her gift.”


How fitting, then, that Josiah has blessed me with a platform to share what Jesus and I have been reflecting upon! Bernard and Hildegard are proud of us, I am sure. Thank goodness for the “great cloud of witnesses”! (Hebrews 12:1)


As I write this, I am sitting by a frosted window that, despite being sealed, is still radiating the bitter cold that has crept over the landscape. The temperature today is supposed to fall to -40 degrees Fahrenheit and I must admit that I am not happy about it. The stretch of tundra that usually runs from January to March in Ohio has a way of dampening my spirits. Frankly, I sometimes forget the beauty of the Lord when the sun is hidden behind clouds that are pregnant with snow.


Because of my winter blues, I revisited a poem I wrote during the last months of summer. I remember the day vividly; the sun was radiant and warming in a pristine blue sky and all felt right with the world. It goes a little something like this:


Perfect Thursday Morning

Your spotless sky

beckons me like a

hearth,

“Breathe slowly, deeply.”


The armored torsos of the

ants and

the three-fingered sticky

wave of the

toad are


lighthearted and guileless.


When the sun kisses

me gently on the

back of my neck

the taut tendon of


anxiety


melts, a humorless glacier

that is made small

as we sing

green leaf, holy hymns.


Here,

with the grain of wood

sighing beneath my

fingertips,

unique caressing unique


it is wonderfully

difficult

to remember how

I

ever considered

myself

more than a woven thread,

more than a small, honored

piece.


How sweet the memory of warmth in this deadly cold! I read this reflection and closed my eyes, conjuring up the feeling I had that day in my mind’s eye. After my moment of bliss, I reawakened to reality and kept scrolling through my poetry document, running across a poem that is completely different. It reads:


Oatmeal With Jesus On a Snowy Morning

I imagine His bowl and

spoon are wooden,

simple,

like this moment in which

we sit

on this old love seat,

gazing out the window,

each of us

thinking

of how much we love the

other.


Then came the conviction. Just as I had once paused and reflected on an outwardly beautiful afternoon, I had, at one point, also paused to reflect on a snowy morning much like today. I sat with a bowl of oatmeal in the quiet and was able to see the Lord of Hosts sitting next to me. He was also quiet; He was also gazing out the window. I came to realize that this latter moment with God was just as special to me as the former.


It turns out that there is always beauty to behold.


It is so easy to allow the heavy weight of sadness to wash over us and to count ourselves helpless to its pounding. Many days I let myself fall victim to spirits that sink low and freeze in my gut. But the truth is that we are not helpless and we have been given a spirit of power. (2 Timothy 1:7) There will never be a day in which there is not something wondrous to see. The Lord is powerful enough to encounter us both when the breeze is gentle and when the gales can cause frostbite. He sits with us at picnic tables and over steaming bowls of oatmeal. He loves us consistently and He is forever reaching out His hand to guide us deeper into His love.


My prayer and my benediction:


May Jesus cause the scales to fall from our eyes so that we may see His beauty more clearly. May the sparks of His grace light summer horizons and wintery scenes alike. I pray that the Holy Spirit, our helper, guide, and friend, would lift us from the depths of seasonal depression and into hope. I pray hope over us all. Let us choose joy.


Stay warm and stay close to Jesus. He is looking out the window beside you, relishing in all that He has created. Join Him.

© 2019 BY JOSIAH TRAVIS