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Sometimes the weather outside is a perfect reflection of life inside.  Though spring officially arrived a few weeks ago and the Easter holiday has come and gone, winter still refuses to relinquish its relentless grip on the temperatures.  I woke up this morning to twenty nine degrees, which for us is about twenty degrees below normal.  I keep telling myself tomorrow will be warmer, but the weather man disagrees.  Tomorrow is in fact predicted to be worse than today.  I remind myself winter cannot last forever.  In a few short weeks it will be May and winter will finally have to take its place at the rear of the seasonal rotation.

Lately it seems as though my life is mimicking winter’s fierce refusal to let go.  I meticulously plan, and work, and sacrifice knowing eventually my efforts will be rewarded, but eventually seems to take longer than it should.  For weeks I keep careful watch on my diet, and exercise like a fiend, but the scale barely budges.  I scrape and save for a long cherished goal, and just when it’s within sight something comes up to push my prize further away.   At times like these it feels more like two steps back and one step forward rather than the other way around.

So what are my options? Do I throw up my hands and give up?  Do I decide it doesn’t matter what I do, or how hard I try, because life is hard and what’s going to happen is going to happen regardless of my efforts? Do I doubt my faith, my work, my will and surrender to the whims of randomness?  Even if I tried to find solace in such a solution I would soon find myself asking, now what? If my efforts are all for naught, what do I do now?  Why do anything at all?  What is the point of trying? And after a few hours, or days, or weeks spent wallowing in self-pity, then what?

The answer is then I would simply pick myself up, brush myself off, and begin again.  Surrender is never a permanent solution.  It is at best a temporary one, and sometimes even a necessary one in order to survive, but once the crisis has past, acceptance of defeat is in itself self-defeating.  To strive is the essence of the human condition.  To lift ourselves out of the chaos and confused muck of this physical world and make it a better place than we found it is an essential part of our purpose here.  The other part, the larger part, is to recognize though we may dwell in this physical world for a while, it is not our true essence.  This is not our true home.  It is merely a place we come to experience life in a myriad of circumstances.  It cannot defeat us because we are not here to do battle with it, only to experience it.

So let us bless both our winters and our springs, our defeats and our triumphs, our bitter disappointments as well as our most glorious highs.  We are both body and spirit.  This is only our encounter with life today.  Winter will soon pass, and in the middle of a hot summer afternoon or when summer lingers overlong and we dream of the cool breezes of autumn, we will look fondly back on these days and bemoan the heat of our then current experience.