Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Attitude Adjustment Ruth Smith Meyer

Winter has always been one of my favourite times of year. Autumn’s brisk mornings give way to a sparkling snow-covered world. The whole landscape like a delicious cake is iced and decorated to perfection. North winds blow their invigorating gusts, clearing out the cobwebs and debris forcing a fresh assessment of the basic needs of life. Winter has always been an aid in replicating the same kind of reassessment in my inner life. Bundling up in warm winter coats, donning hat, mitts and scarf and venturing out for a walk or on cross-country skis, into a good brisk storm helps me clear the cobwebs out of my brain, too. On my return, it brings a whole new rationale for wrapping myself in a blanket and sitting close to the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate in my hand.

This year, the snow blew in early in November and took me by surprise. About the same time, a string of deaths began to occur. These were not aged people, but those at the prime of life, snatched from faithful service, from the edge of adulthood and from young families who still needed two loving parents. Those
surprises were closer to shock and dismay.

It seemed every time the telephone rang, every meeting we attended, we heard about someone else in hospital with serious illness, emergency surgery or newly diagnosed with cancer. I longed to go out in a storm for one of those invigorating winter walks, but my sinuses were acting up and wouldn’t allow me that reprieve. The north winds may have been blowing outside, but the cobwebs and debris in my mind and heart seemed to hang there and pile up. I began to resent this winter and all the sadness that kept the days sunless and drear. I longed for a change.

Then a few things happened that sent beams of hope shining through the clouds. A good friend made it through a five point by-pass, a daughter and son-in-law experienced break-throughs in their medical challenges, another daughter orchestrated a successful fund-raising gala, a new vision glimmered through the church and God worked in many smaller ways to give courage and hope. As though the weather were responding with its own cheer, the sun began to shine more often turning the winter into a glistening fairyland.

Today snow drifted down most of the day hiding the sun once more. Looking out the window, I see the bare boughs of the maple in our back yard turned into a lacy white pattern against the sky. The evergreens are wearing their white wraps like regal ladies at a ball. The falling snow is like bits of peace floating down like feathers. My heart expands in thanksgiving. The air is still crisp and cold—but surprise! I give my head a shake. Yes, I am enjoying the winter weather.

With elation, I reach for my hat and coat. That bit of hope helped my attitude do an about face. I wonder, as I breathe in the cold air, and turn my face upward to catch a snowflake on my tongue, “How can I share this joy?” What I can do to bring positive change to those around me. If a smile is catching then a positive word, a compliment, or recognition of a job well done, could offer hope and encouragement that could change a gloomy winter day into a phenomenon of beauty and peace. I see my neighbour in the window across the street. I wave enthusiastically then do one better. I catch a snowflake on my hand and blow it to her like a kiss.

Author of
Not Easily Broken and Not Far from the Tree.

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