• Marnie Hammar

The Beauty in our Winters


It was winter when my grandfather died. As I prepared my heart for that goodbye, I bundled up for a brisk afternoon walk in the woods. The path wove towards the edge of a partially frozen lake, and I found a large wooden swing hanging between two


bare trees, overlooking the water and ice. I took a seat, thankful for the time and place to think of him. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ In my grief and sadness, I was caught off guard when, almost immediately, God whispered to me that there is beauty in the winter too. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ As I sat on that swing, feeling hot tears on my cold cheeks, I tried to reconcile the possibility of beauty in this waiting season. I looked at the sun reflecting off the ice. I felt the warmth of the sun’s rays as I breathed in deep. Even as my lungs were stinging from the pain of inhaling the cold, I could see winter’s unmistakable beauty. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I stayed in this moment that held in its hands both beauty and pain.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ How many times have I wished winter away? Yet, here was winter, opening itself to me, its unadorned landscape showing me its beauty still. The birds’ songs were still traveling through the thin air. The sun was still faithful to shine brightly. The hawks still soared above me, smooth and strong on the cloudless sky. In the stillness of this winter day, I felt God close. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I thought about my grandfather, and the sacredness of waiting to go to his heavenly home, even as he endured the pain and discomfort of his own winter. I was fully aware of the sunlight in the cold. The hope of spring after winter. And his hope of life after death. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ For years, I’ve discounted winter’s lessons. But waiting for winter to end is much like waiting for my grandfather’s death — I can’t rush either. The length and fullness of this season is purposeful. ⁠⠀


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