An Article I Wrote for this Week's Issue of the School Paper

Embracing Winter: Details of a Resolution
By Emily Carson

Several months ago, just as the temperatures were starting tumble, I resolved to adopt a new attitude about the season of winter. To give a little context to the story: I have always been a winter-hater. Well, maybe not always. I think there were a few years of childhood seasonal innocence that involved things like snow angels and hot chocolate. But in general, for the majority of my 25 years, I have never been an advocate of sub-zero temperatures. Back in November I felt a little tug on my heart nudging me to give these chilly months a chance since they do make up about a quarter of each year. Here is what this endeavor has taught me so far:

*Wearing proper winter gear makes a huge difference: Although I’ve always had things like boots, gloves, hats, and scarves, for some reason I never wore them. I don’t really have any excuse for this. All I can say is that wearing these helpful accessories makes winter so much more enjoyable! When probably bundled, sometimes I don’t even notice the frigid temperature as I do fun outdoor activities like walking and waiting at the bus stop.

*It is not necessarily advantageous to listen to songs entitled “Winter” for inspiration: This really seemed like a good idea. I thought if I downloaded a bunch of songs about winter, maybe it would help me get into the spirit of things. I was so elated to find out some of my favorite musical artists like Joshua Radin, Tori Amos, and Iron & Wine have songs about winter! The songs are great, but they are generally more about broken relationships and heartbreak than the beauty of icicles and snowballs.

*Never underestimate the power of the word ‘silly’: This is perhaps my best advice for adapting to winter and adapting to life. If you label the things in life that annoy you as ‘silly’ rather than frustrating, terrible, or a nightmare, they actually don’t seem as bad! Before Christmas I got stuck in traffic for 5 hours during a snowstorm. But, I just kept thinking, “Oh my, this is sure silly.” I think it helped. This week in Chicago has been filled with weather forecasts involving the minus sign in front of the temperature; I have used the word ‘silly’ a lot this week.

*I think God might like winter: I can’t say I have direct word from the Creator on this topic, but my J-Term Theologies of Creation class has involved much discussion about God as embodied in all aspects of creation. It seems like the season of winter should be included. In my brief experience of appreciating the months of December, January, and February, I’ve noticed that honoring winter and its place in the seasonal cycle is a way of increasing my awareness of how God is active even in the coldest and most fragile of life’s seasons.

Operation Winter Love has taught me one thing for sure: God sure has the strange way of making what I perceive to be the most unpleasant parts of life sort of amazing.

(A view of the flight of stairs I fell down yesterday: quite sore today.)

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