When Winter Comes in Spring

It began as one of those rare, special days. Not, to be clear, that any day on a grand, cosmic level is any less rare or special in itself; we pirouette around a sun, perfect in imperfect circles, on a perfectly imperfect ball. We are never at a loss for wonders around us, just at a loss for the strength to attend. Just look at the screen in front of you, and try to write down absolutely everything you can know about it: how many hands have touched the parts to bring them together, how many millions of years did the millennia-old fossil matter need in order to become plastic, how many centuries of human technological development, how many minds, have gone into this moment of you reading these words? We live within a world where a speck of dust could be a place for a lifetime of learning, knowing, and meditation upon the infinity of God. Satan is not only the father of lies, but also the father of the banal, of boredom, of good things taken in such a way that they lose their vital, juicy abundance.

I awoke at four in the morning on April 21st, a mild headache telling me a glass of water and a little fresh air was necessary. Downstairs, my water in my hand, I at last became aware that while I slept, winter had made a late visit to southern Ohio. It was not much snow, a centimeter’s dusting on the grass if that. But once again I was transported back to the long, dark, wonderful winter. Standing outside, just breathing, I became aware of how much fresh snow can sparkle like shovelfuls of little diamonds, and how trees lightly dusted take on a special contrast, this time intensified by the fresh spring leaves upon which the snow clung. Today, I have watched the change from winter to spring, all in one day: hearing the snow clump off the trees in wet, warm slops, watching the world turn from white to green hour by hour, feeling the cold air warm itself into a puddle-jump spring day. Yes, some days it is easier to get caught up in the wonder of the world. Perhaps because some days remind you to simply be.

 Here at the Jesuit Spiritual Center, we interns generally stay on ten months, from August to May. We see all the seasons here in that time. Seeing two of them today, I allow myself to get lost in the memories of the year. Do you remember how the snow fell in winter? Do you recall all the inventive ways people learned how to give out candy in a socially distanced manner for Halloween? Do you recall the first day you heard the thunderous return of the geese? These are good memories of place, and they remind me that the world, and God, can go on without my petty neurotic egotism, my mewling over past mistakes, my all-too-common wrapping up of myself, in myself. In reflection like this, I am free again to give to God and this day some of the only things that matter: gratitude, and love.