When I told her that it had been foggy, wet and cold for two weeks straight here in Wisconsin, my friend must have gotten to work right away because two weeks later I had a new handmade neck warmer in my mailbox along with a card expressing her love. Is there any better feeling than that? As it so happened, on the day that I received this lovely surprise the temp was below zero and I still had a long day of pastoring ahead of me, so on it went, and off I went, feeling cozy, warm and loved.
Being from Missouri I am no stranger to cold weather, but moving 400 miles due north has taken things to new extremes. In this part of the world, people are not nearly as apt to hunker down indoors when there is a lot of snow, or when it’ brutally cold, because that’s how it is all winter long. Life would have to come to a grinding halt for several months if we were to allow the weather to stop us from doing things.
So I have had to devise ways of keeping warm on the go, and now that I have settled in to my new life I am actually starting to enjoy the challenge of winter in Wisconsin. Friendliness warms me down to the marrow, and there is no shortage of friendliness in Wisconsin. I am with people all the time, and while I sometimes lament the fact that I did not move here when it was warmer, I have come to realize that had it been warmer, I would spent more time on my own exploring. As it is, I am exploring people; and with two congregations to serve, there is no shortage of people!
I visit people. I share meals with people. I look inside people and I see the light shining inside them…and through it all, I stay warm. Soup is good; layers are good; heck, even hot showers are good for staying warm, but without the warmth of people the cold always creeps back in quickly leaving us sad and lonely.
I truly do look forward to the spring, because I will enter into it alongside my new friends and family here in Wisconsin. And in the meantime we will share a cup of tea and talk about all the things we will do when it finally gets here; and we will be warm.