I’m the kind of nerd who checks Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day. I don’t often use it after I’ve checked it; I usually forget about it a few minutes later in the busyness of getting everybody out the door. It’s a little piece of entertainment for the morning, though, especially the brief write-up the editors add for a bit of etymological or evolutionary background on the word.
Today’s word has me thinking about trips we used to take to see Karoline’s family in southern Michigan. For a few years, they held on to a tradition of gathering on Christmas Eve. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant time to be in that area between Ann Arbor and Detroit, though. Late December is very cold, but not so deep into winter that there is an accountable bit of snow to play in. It’s just cold and snowy enough to be slushy.
Sodden is what everything becomes when we attempt to travel from the car to the front door.
Sodden is what attitudes can become when everything outside is colored in shades of grey.
How do we get through this grey, cold time?
Well, the Berg family has shifted our annual trip to Michigan to Summer. That helps a bit.
But as the daylight shortens and the vibrant colors of Summer and Autumn fade, as the cold drives most of us to spend more time cloistered inside, how do we maintain a vibrancy of spirit and avoid grief-laden and bitter attitudes?
It won’t happen accidentally.
It also won’t happen if we simply try to ignore the heaviness of this season.
I encourage us to recognize what makes days heavier and more difficult to bear. Name those things. Call them exactly what they are. Especially if they come from a place of loss and grief, recognize what is lost and what you grieve.
There is a reason we grieve. What we experience is the loss of something important or dear to us. We care about it. We treasure it, whether it’s a job, a relationship, or a thing.
That’s something worth hanging on to.
It’s easy to fall into cynicism and an I-don’t-care attitude, but it’s far more worthwhile and healthy to open our hearts and let ourselves be endeared to each other and to all the gifts God has given to us. Of course they’ll pass; so will we. Let’s treasure each other and treasure our gifts while we have them.
Life is not given to us to be endured. Life is given to us to be enjoyed.
So this Winter, let’s dry up our sodden attitudes and let God’s Spirit fill us with joy!