February Letter

Dear Friends in Christ,
February is one of my least favorite months. I’ll just get that out there. In the places I’ve lived, February is the grayest, wettest, coldest, most dreary month of the year. If you’re a sports fan, there isn’t much to cheer about—after the Super Bowl at the beginning of the month there is a seemingly endless gap before baseball’s spring training games, and March Madness is, well, not until March. February is like the time between the crucifixion and the resurrection; a dreary time of being in-between where the past (winter) is not yet gone and the future (spring) is yet still beyond the horizon. Where can we find hope in such a depressing month?

I think back to a past winter. I’m not sure if it was in February, but it sure felt quite February-like. I was in a particularly February kind of mood, feeling down and as if God was far away. While walking the dog I felt drawn to the pond in our park. It had frozen over and there was a fresh layer of snow covering it, beckoning me to write my prayer on the blank canvas before me. I trudged out onto the snow and ice and shuffled out my message to God in big bold letters: H o p e. There, I had done it—one part affirmation of faith, and one part direct challenge to God. Hope: God, I believe it ... now show me it’s really there!

As the days went on, the weather was quite February. The temps warmed up, though only enough to melt the snow.
The rains came. H o p e was beginning to fade. I could still make out the traces of my message on the ice, though it was increasingly harder to pick out. What was once a bold declaration (or plea) in the snow was now a faint trace of slush in a pool of water that had collected on the icy pond. So much for hope, I thought.