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The February Blues
A Banal Trinity
As we have been musing on the winter season of faith, a few lines from Martin Marty’s fine book A Cry of Absence caught my attention. Specifically, he identifies three characteristics of the wintry space which may strike us during this season of the year:
Apathy - “A state that evokes the response of not caring anymore about things material or spiritual.” We might just call it ‘indifference’ or ‘the February blues’ when the winter months seem endless.
Anomy - “Normlessness, an inability to care about standards when one is sated.” Like feeling stuffed after a turkey meal so that all you want to do is lie down and sleep instead of joining in with the family games.
Acedia - “Leanness in the soul,’ the wasteland disease that comes to the fat and full.” Or put another way: boredom.
Do any of these “A’s” connect with your winter experience? Your wintry season of faith? I don’t think that I am alone in facing these wintry challenges. Marty suggests that there is another way of looking at the barren season of faith: the season of fallowness. It is not an arid or empty season but a ‘fallow season’ where space is given for rest, recalibration, and rejuvenation (like the farmers of PEC who rotate their crops and allow certain fields time to regain their energy and nutritional powers).
I say let’s be gentle with ourselves and allow our hearts and souls times of refreshment and rest by acknowledging this period of fallowness. Let’s give the winter season the freedom to do its thing and wait for spring’s warmth to break through. It’s only a matter of time before the wet fields turn to white trilliums and purple crocuses.
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Can we reframe our February blues into a time of stillness and active waiting for the life of the Lenten spring to emerge and energize our souls?