They told us it came from Canada, but it felt more like the Artic. The weatherman called it a cold snap. I called it a whipping. By the time I got to school that morning, my cheeks were chapped, my lips blue, and my boogers frozen. Even pulling my stocking cap down over my face offered no relief. And the mittens, knit by my Grandmother for Christmas, were a hopeless flop, and my fingers ached.
The whole day at school, I dreaded the return walk home. I knew it would be even colder, as the sun began to set. When the bell rang and we chugged outside to begin the dreaded trek homeward, I tried to run, which made me pee my pants, and I know had an ice shelf hanging off the crotch my husky sized corduroys.
By the time I got home, and walked through the back door, I was weeping. My mother immediately figured out my predicament, as she always did, and asked if I might like a hot chocolate, and a plate of steaming chocolate chip cookies. I stripped down, put on my thick flannel pajamas, and draped an afghan, another Grandma Christmas gift, and sat in my father’s Lazy-Boy, awaiting my mother’s arrival with the tray from Heaven.
Artic cold can turn our body’s blue, and our souls bitter. Our spirits long for warmth, and yearn to thaw or melt. Our only desire is to NOT be cold anymore.
Lent can be thought of like walking to school and back in frigid temperatures. Easter can be thought of as hot chocolate and piping hot chocolate chip cookies. It will take a good hour before we feel comfortable again, and our dread of being forced back outside has grown to epic proportions.
There was a moment when my Mom wanted me to bring a few cookies to Grandma, but smiled and shook her head, and said they could wait until morning, when Grandma always came for coffee. The relief I felt was as wide as the sky, and if I could I would have sung the whole Handel “Hallelujah Chorus” – even if I didn’t know a word of it, or the fact that it was ironically only one word.
O, Lord of Lent, let my soul be warmed and my spirit lit on fire. Melt away my bitter anger or envy or jealousy. Let the thick ice of my own insecurity thaw. Let your Grace, like a soft gentle warm summer breeze, ignite hope within me, and inspire joy in each and every day. Amen.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.