Putting on my Winter clothes
I am presently in warm, sunny (and sometimes rainy) Sri Lanka. It’s April 2012. The weather at hand is exactly the weather which a Colombo April often promises. Warm, muggy, sticky. Hot! Too hot! When I move around the house, I feel the sweat trickle down my unsuspecting back! I so enjoy sitting under a fan doing nothing!. I love having a cold shower. Walking a few steps on the main road makes me feel I am covered in a cloak of warmth.
"Heat" and I are definitely not friends. Never have been. But you know – even hot weather such as this does have its compensations. I can dress happily in shorts and a light blouse with just rubber thongs on my feet. We can sit out in the garden for a chat. Cold showers don’t turn me into a block of ice. Yes, warm weather has its compensations. As I reflect on the warmth – I contrast it with the cold. And think back to our last Winter in Adelaide…!.
The month is June. A cold winter’s day. I wake up – pad my way to the bathroom and wash my face. I weigh myself for the day. 131.8 pounds! (Sigh.) Off to the bedroom to put on some clothes.
In previous winters, I usually threw over my thick winter dressing gown and went to the kitchen to get breakfast for my family. But this year is different. I decide that I prefer being fully dressed when pottering around the kitchen, instead of being adorned in my thick, uncomfortable, scratchy, winter dressing gown.
So this year I do it different. As I wake up and shower, I change into my comfortable home clothes. Usually that means a pair of pants, a T shirt and a thick pullover to start off (usually replaced by a thinner cardigan as I get warmed up). On my feet, I put on a pair of socks. Then slide my feet quickly into the battered and old but very comfy cloth shoes which I wear around the house each winter.
This morning I don my clothes cheerfully, shivering a little since the house feels cold. My underwear feels lovely and soft. So does my T shirt. And yes, my trousers too. Finally, I put on my socks. I am surprised! They also feel extra soft and comfortable on my feet. Never mind that I was wearing my oldest pair which felt scratchy in the summer.
I like the feel of soft clothes, don’t you?
I smile as I realise why all my clothes feel so beautifully soft. It’s the winter-time drying of clothes that has done it. No sun. No heat. Only a mild warmth to dry my clothes this Winter. When clothes dry in the summer sun, they often dry quickly. But the sun sucking up the wetness leaves them scratchy and ‘hard’. But when clothes dry slower in the winter sun, their softness remains.
There are things to delight in during winter aren't there? But you know… winter often has a bad name. Most people would vote ‘Yes’ for ‘summer’ and ‘No’ for winter. I vote different. Not just because my clothes are extra soft today. More so because I know that every season is needed. If life were summer all year long, I bet many folks would tire of it.
Yes, there is rain – lots of it during an Adelaide winter. Yes, the skies are mostly overcast. Yes, it is often cold and wet and sometimes miserable.
But then… think of the wonderful things about winter. Winter times are fresh and cold and invigorating. The grey skies of winter make me appreciate the sunshine even more, when it comes. I love sleeping in winter – cuddling a lovely, warm husband. That is such a special pleasure! And it’s fun to anticipate the beautiful days of spring – because of course there is always great fun in anticipation.
Wintry days in life may be sometimes hard. They may be cold, wet and miserable.
But… dare I say it? Winter days are good days. Winter days have their own enchantment.
So wait… don’t discard them. Don’t frown at the wintry days in your life. Life’s wintry days have their uses. A time of waiting and watching for happier days? A time of enjoying the softness of God’s care? Of enjoying the invigoration that the cold brings into our lives?
My winter clothes were far better than my summer clothes. Far far softer.
Lessons learnt in the wintry days of life are also soft and sure – from my Master’s own beautiful Hands!