Winter Lessons

A New England winter, like a rigid schoolmaster, reminds you daily of the stark, difficult work needed for survival.

But she is a gentle mentor who rewards your labor with white blankets of snow and offers serene, soothing skies as a prelude to cold evenings.

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Although our family was just introduced to her, having moved 400 miles up the Atlantic seaboard last spring, this New England winter imparted a few lessons in our little cape that sits up on the hill, at the bend in the road,

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where the lake’s dam spills a continuous cadence of crystal ripples into the river, even on the harshest of days.

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A few of her lessons?

1.Don’t get too zealous about your old farm house’s unheated back hallway and see it as a “walk-in refrigerator,” storing all your food back there, unless of course you would enjoy waking to the serenade of coke cans bursting in mini firework-sounding explosions, leaving brown ice crystals on your ceiling.

2. Don’t stand too close to the edge of the ice on the lake, unless you desire to sit in frigid water.

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3. Don’t forget that water will turn solid in its frozen state, and in New England in January water tends to, well, prefer being in a frozen state… even in pipes leading to things like, say, washing machines and dish washers.

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Once you utilize heat tape to its full advantage; redistribute explodable, freezable food to warmer rooms; and learn to delight in partially frozen lakes from a distance, you can’t help but relish all that a New England winter offers…

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Breathtaking snow-skimmed mountain views that remind you that you are infinitesimal, yet mountainously loved.

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Darkness so deep, pierced by star light so intense, you realize you never truly saw black or stars before.

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Mist rising over the river and winding among the snowy branches, convincing you of the reality of Narnia.

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And twisting, white journeys that lead to general stores where the owner pulls up a seat for you by the wood stove, inviting you to warm your wet boots on the same hard wood floor that stage coach riders trod on over 200 years ago.

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In reality, though, no matter where I live on this beautiful planet and what roads I trod, in any season, God directs me and holds me in his hand. No matter how many pipes burst or frozen difficulties fill a bitter cold day, He is a gentle instructor, guiding and teaching me right there in the midst of that problem. He promises that He causes all things–-and, yes, that includes broken wash machines, or whatever sadness fills anyone’s day… loneliness, debt, sickness–-to work together for good if we are striving to fulfill His purpose in our life. His purpose? To make me more like Christ. If He can seriously accomplish that amazing feat, well, no lesson is too difficult.

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We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. Romans 8:28-29

 

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