Seventeen years ago we travelled south at Easter time. The destination was Arkansas where our daughter was teaching school and Deborah, one of our daughters friends, was with us. As we drove south through Arkansas, we noticed numerous mounds of dirt in the fields. After reaching our destination, we asked about those mounds.
“Oh, they’re probably crawdads or fire ants,” was the response.
Deborah turned to us and quietly said, “You couldn’t pay me to live in this country!”
So, yes, we are thankful to live in a country with a winter season that keeps fire ants, crawdads and Burmese pythons at bay. Nevertheless, we are now entering the fifth month of winter and are more than ready for a change of seasons.
This past weekend has been the coldest of our winter so far. As we drove home from Saskatoon late Friday evening my wife and I were reminiscing about the early years of our marriage. We had a 1972 Toyota Corolla, which was a very small car at the time, and in really cold weather we had a choice of defrosting the windshield so we could see where we were going, or keeping ourselves warm. Obviously the choice was to dress very warmly. We didn’t buy another Asian car until we bought the Hyundai we are now driving. Halfway home I began turning the heat down.
It is a little milder today and the forecast is for above zero temperatures for next weekend. (For US readers, zero is the freezing point on the Celsius scale.) Our son-in-law is hoping for a couple more cold weeks to finish the gravel haul job he is working on. As soon as the frost starts coming out of the ground, there are weight limits on our roads to minimize damage. He was fixing a water main leak in a nearby town a few weeks ago and found the frost went down more than two metres (seven feet). The same town has another one for him to work on today.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. . . a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.”
I turned down a job offer this morning, a part time job during the tax season that would have brought in a couple thousand dollars that we could really use. I decided that I am in a season of my life where it would be difficult to manage this and keep up with my regular clientele. I still put in long days at times, but if I do too much of that I need a day or two to recuperate. There is not a lot of useful work that gets done on those days.
I feel an urge too that this is my season to write. If I have learned anything of value in my life’s journey, it is time to communicate it to those who are younger. I am still learning, if I ever come to a time that I can no longer learn, then I will no longer be able to write, either. One of the things that I am trying to learn is how to write in a manner that will engage the reader.
“The times, they are a-changing.” When spring comes we will be enthused about getting outside and looking after the yard work. There will be picnics and bonfires and all kinds of things going on outdoors. The lengthening hours of sunshine are already stirring the beginnings of spring fever.
On a spiritual level, the world around us is becoming a much colder place. The gospel has the power to warm and change the hearts and lives of people out there in the cold. But, and this is a big but, those people are unlikely to see any benefit in the gospel message if we keep telling it in the same way we have been telling it for the past fifty years. We dare not change the message, yet we must change the way we package it. We are in a different season now. This is not a time to be discouraged and let our hands hang down, it is a time to be working to direct the message at the real needs of this new season.