Is Winter a state of mind?

January 13, 2021

Two recent posts to the blog Jack’s Winning Words just seem to belong together and point to our ability to deal with the season we call winter –

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the face.”  (Victor Hugo)

-and-

“Even in winter it shall be green in my heart.”  (Frederik Chopin)

Chopin and Hugo both point to solutions to the gloom and depression that winter can bring on. The shorter days and cloudy darkness, especially in northern areas can exacerbate effects of the cold and being forced to stay indoors so much. This year in particular with the COVID-19 pandemic overlaid on top of the winter weather, it can be an especially tough time. Yet, like other events in our lives, we hold the key to how we react to the dark and unhospitable physical environment of winter.

Pastor Freed wrote that Chopin was a romantic and that it showed in his music. Romanics, I believe, also tend to be optimistic about life, since they imagine successful romantic outcomes to situations. Victor Hugo was also an important figure in the French Romantic Movement.

Perhaps the difference is that the romantic looks ahead and imagines the end of winter and the rebirth offered by spring. In the heart of the romantic, they imagine the green of Spring and that vision sustains them through the gloom of winter. The romantic might also find things to laugh at amidst the gloom and that helps keep winter at bay.

Like everything else in life, taking a passive approach doesn’t really work. One can’t just sit there and say, “All right, make me laugh” or “Show me the green”. The effects of winter on us mentally has even got a name (doesn’t every thing these days). It is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). So, if you are sad because of SAD, here is a link to a nice article of things that you can do about it. As you read the article notice that much of the advice revolves around how to implement the advice of Hugo and Chopin.

All of this points to the conclusion that the title of this post aims at. While the winter season is very real, it is the “Winter” in our minds that we must deal with. We must not let gloom and doom creep into our lives along with the cold of the season. We must work at finding the things that we can laugh at and maintain the hope of sprint, the sure knowledge that better days are ahead.

For the Christian that hope is found in Easter, which portends the Spring in our lives. We first had Christmas to brighten up the beginning of winter and now we have Easter to chase winter away and usher in the rebirth of Spring. We can laugh in the face of the gloom and maintain the green in our hearts because we know what is coming and what is next.

So, is the Winter in my mind one of gloom and sadness? No, that is not my state of mind; for I am already looking forward to Easter and the rebirth for the earth and for me personally that it heralds. It is green in my mind already and that makes me want to laugh at winter.  How about you?


Be the Daffodil…

December 12, 2013

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”  (Albert Camus) from  http://www.jackswinningwords.blogspot.com/ .

The allusion to winter and summer is often used in literature when the authors are writing about good and bad times in life. We all have our “winter” times in life. It might be a time when a loved one has died or perhaps it is a time when one has lost a job and can’t see another on the horizon. Sometimes we create our own winter by letting our imagination run away with us, turning a minor issue into a huge problem. In some cases there appears to be medical reasons why some people’s brains take them off into winter. Those cases can often be help by proper medications.

For those non-medical reasons that cause us to slip into a wintry mood, we need to pause and try to find that invincible summer that is there within us all. We may have to make an extraordinary effort, but it is there.  The invincible summer is that spark of hope and faith and optimism that, if allowed to grow and flame-up within us, can get us through anything. In some cases it will be based upon faith. In some hope will provide the spark and in either case optimism will fan the spark into a flame that will drive away the darkness and cold of your winter.

Daffodil Blooming Through The Snow Stock Photo By -Marcus-

Daffodil Blooming Through The Snow Stock Photo
By -Marcus-

The images conjured up by winter are cold and darkness and perhaps loneliness. Summers bring thoughts of warmth and sunlight and good times with friends and family. I recall every Spring, when winter is giving way to summer, photos that I have seen and used in advertising over the years of a hardy little Daffodil peeking out from a snow drift, bringing its bright yellow message of hope for summer, even in the midst of winters last snowy gasp. That invincible little Daffodil is the harbinger of the summer ahead.

Perhaps you can find a Daffodil in the midst of your winter; or, better yet, be the Daffodil that brightens up someone’s wintry day and gets them started back towards summer. Taking the time to reach out to someone that you see needs help finding summer in their life can also brighten your life and help you through your own wintry periods.

So, peak out from beneath the snow of winter and let your invincible summer shine through. Be the Daffodil and bring summer on.