... in signs of summer in winter
I have moved house a fair number of times in my life but I moved twice in the last year. The first time was about a month before Christmas (a year ago), in the beginning of winter. I moved again in the summer.
Attempts to get to know the new area where slightly complicated by this. For example, we spotted the nature reserve on the map and went for a walk there, but it was a quagmire and the possibilities of walking there were written off until late spring had arrived. Happily, it proved to be a wonderful place to walk when the weather was a little drier.
Another walk took me in some light drizzle up a country road, where there was a small wood. The wood was bare of leaves in winter and the paths a little muddy. Nothing special. But I noted the type of wood (mostly hazel) and vaguely remembered that this type of wood was a good place for look for bluebells in spring. I was not wrong! On my weekly walks I was able to track the native bluebells until they reached to that photogenic and enchanting point where the wood looked like something from a Disney film, but even better.
Lastly, another local walk took me past some fields. In the winter these were muddy and not much to look at. But watching the barley grow until it ripened and moved in the summer breezes was beautiful.
As I've moved house again and the winter months are upon us, I am having to remind myself that winter walks in gloomy weather, in rain or even in the dark, where I explore my new area, will pay off in summer. But this feels like an important thing to note for our relationships with God, and with other people. You have to put in the spade work, even when you are not sure of the results.
It is also worth noting that I didn't put off exploring because I knew I might not have a very long time to spend in our first house and neighbourhood. Although the upheaval was difficult, knowing that we might not be there long meant I put more effort in.
As the gospel says 'we do not know the hour when the master is coming' either ...