Intern Minister's Messages
- Published Date
As I head outside with Josie, our old brown dog, I welcome the cold wind this morning. After last year’s unsettling mild weather, I appreciate the “right-ness” of today’s frigid temperatures. New England and cold winters go hand in hand, after all…
Every winter, I think of Marie. We met in a chalice circle, my first ever, about fifteen years ago. We were a diverse group by most measures, and Marie, a longtime grandmother, represented the oldest generation at seventy-five. Every one of our chalice circle meetings carried a revelation for me. Having grown up with a dad who annually denounced November as The Worst Month of the Year, I couldn’t believe that one group member loved it. Then, when winter blew in, Marie surprised me by saying that she liked winter best of all—even though she did not care for snow and holed up in her apartment most of the time.
Why, then, did she like winter so much? Marie said that winter was “about going inward.” By that, she meant spiritually inward. She had worked all her life and now took great pleasure in pursuing spiritual growth. This intrigued me—I had never heard anyone talk that way, never mind this cozy grandmotherly person. Precisely because she stayed indoors, Marie spent her winters diving deep into the spiritual realm. All year, she saved up books about spiritual exploration and enrichment, memoirs, poetry anthologies and the like. All winter, she would flip through them, ponder, jot down thoughts and write in her journal every day.
I love that Marie made the weather her excuse to devote time to this part of her life. Giving a whole season over to spiritual reflection every year sounds outright delicious. David Budbill’s poem, “Winter is the Best Time,” reminds me of Marie:
Winter is the best time
to find out who you are.
Quiet, contemplation time,
away from the rushing world,
cold time, dark time, holed-up
pulled-in time and space
to see that inner landscape,
that place hidden and within.
If you were to set aside some reflection time “to see that inner landscape,” what would it look like? What resources would you turn to for some cozy, wintertime spiritual exploration? Marie has a good thing going—these wintry days, we might well follow her lead and venture inward.
Betsy Tabor is UUCR’s Intern Minister.