Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Series of Epiphany Posts on Being Human: on weather

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." Albert Camus (I know. Albert Camus. Let it go.)

I have a lot of winter in my heart. And if I am not mistaken, you do too, or at least most of the people around me seem to be trudging a little more than usual. Do you think this is the condition of us old folks, or are our kids feeling this too?

To let myself 'be controlled' by weather seems to trivialize my work of character development. But let's be honest. The world around us - our physical environment - is part of our formation field, and we are affected by it because we interact with it in a very immediate way.

Weather also holds meaning for us. When I was ten my family had a hard year and we lived the winter out in a big drafty house with no heat and no furniture to speak of. Six kids slept on a mattress in the second floor bedroom (like finches in a nest) and in the morning I would grab my clothes and run into the kitchen to dress in front of the stove which had been heated up and the door left open.

I thought, that winter, that we would likely all die. I still feel that way when the weather is extremely cold. I don't THINK it - that would be silly. I know we won't (likely) die from cold. But I feel it... that flimsy unsteady stomach flinch that sends a signal of distress to my hippocampus. (Take note of where hippocampus is - you have one too.(I learned that in Psych class... be impressed. But it doesn't help the feeling at all:-)Winter was lodged in my soul as a perilous time.

Maybe you spent your winters racing around on a snow mobile and later in warm cozy kitchens with laughter and hot chocolate. Winter would then contain quite different meanings for you.

Prayer has been a gentling process for my wintered heart over the years. There is, indeed, an invincible summer in my soul. But it shares space with encroaching winter gray. My guess is that this will always be my experience of winter... and I am a woman of very many winters. The best response I think is to own it and keep a quilt handy. A quilt and chocolate.

Because my humanity needs comforting.

3 comments:

Krissi said...

And a cable knit scarf;) My inner summer is made up of me wanting to throw up when it got over 80ºF, so you can imagine why I might like winter a little better.

Also, it's a shame your parents didn't have friends that could pull through for them. You have heat, my friend, and if you couldn't afford to pay it, you have a whole church who would pay it for you. Even in your gloomy Winter Marilyn moods, you still radiate warmth:)

The Little Girl said...

Oh...our souls are feeling the cold. Strange how one cold child
recognizes another and feels that
icy emptiness. Love to you, and
all the many ways your humanity
speaks, understands and perservers.

Marilyn said...

Hey Little GIRL! I love that you commented - I hear you. Love to you.