I’m grateful for the unbearably cold winters that we have here in South Dakota. Yes, even the sharp wind that simultaneously finds its way down your jacket and up your pant legs.
As of the moment of this writing the temperature is currently -7 degrees Fahrenheit. And I find this something to be thankful for.
Before you start thinking that I’m crazy, let me share some perspective as to why I think this way. Here in the Midwest, we have a diverse range of weather. There are hot summers where it gets up into the hundreds and frigid winters where it gets down into the negatives.
Growing up, I’d often find myself complaining at either end of the year. During the summer I’d think to myself, “If only it could snow.” And during winter I’d think, “If only it was 90 degrees.” Never finding a place of appreciation for the current weather I was experiencing.
What began to shift my thinking was the joy that I would experience at the arrival of spring. Every year spring would come around and the frigid dry air would give way to humidity and sunshine. I’d find myself with such an elevated mood and a thankfulness for the warmth that was often beyond expression.
I began to realize that if it wasn’t for the harsh and painful winter cold, I would never quite realize and appreciate just how beautiful spring is.
When you first begin to see green at the onset of spring it feels so vibrant as if you’ve never seen such a sight. But as the year goes on and the summer heat begins to weigh heavily, it all seems to become commonplace. And we tend to lose appreciation for the colors that abound throughout nature.
I’ve heard a lot of people complain about winter, but I can’t say I’ve ever heard anyone complain about spring. I would argue that it is exactly this reason why we should stop complaining about winter and become grateful for it.
We should learn to be thankful for the discomfort of the season because of the intense joy that it births in the next season.
If we never tasted of the pain of winter, we wouldn’t realize how sweet spring is. I hope it is clear at this point that although I am speaking literally, I am also speaking figuratively about the difficult seasons that we often face in our lives.
It is precisely those seasons that make us have that much more joy when we see the bright sun shining down as the snow melts and gives way to new beginnings.