From deep under a pile of blankets I stare out the window. Winter pushes on the windows and walls…cold air rushes through cracks and closing doors to gnaw away at our warmth and comfort…no snow, no beauty. The trees bare and lifeless against the backdrop of brown fields and life shriveled into crusty, crunchy leaves. Winter has arrived with its tale of bleak days and cold hands strangling dry, hard earth.
January will come…day after day…bare landscapes, cold weather and I will forget that spring will come. It is easy to forget when you don’t focus on the promise. It is easy to view life through windows and closing doors…safe, protected, shut away. The short days of winter, when the sun leaves too soon and the night lingers too long, bring an apathy that shrugs at life…that forgets that winter ends and new life begins….that accepts with no enthusiasm that new blooms wait for a whisper of warmth.
Winter will end, spring will come. Birds and buds…flowers and green shoots will remind us that winter ends…that hope lives. The warmth of spring sunshine and a sweet-scented breeze will warm us from winter blues.
But I begin to wonder about the apathy we choose….
I watch it spread, this soul-deadening winter…this place where we choose to wait…to watch life through windows and closing doors…this space where we choose inaction over Love.
She tells me of her loss…of her family’s loss and how the only expressions of sorrow, of sympathy and love have come in a form when one can push send. Her body language is tight, closed off, and cold…her sorrow looms large. “When did people stop caring for others?” her question hangs huge over my heart. When their souls are aching…shouldn’t we be the warm breath of Life?
The lines on her face tell stories of life and worry. The cigarette hangs loosely from her lips as she recounts the tales of those on the fringe of our midst. Tents, shelters, addicts, those without heat or lights. Referrals pour in, but the money is short…the doors always just barely staying open. A battle to help the least with but a little from a few. When there is hunger, homelessness, need…shouldn’t we do for them as unto Him?
With splashes and sputters the water pours from the tap. A sight, a sound, a precious resource I take for granted. Every. Day. As I wash dishes I think of the words on the radio. Water filters. (from Compassion) So simple this water…that quenches and cleans. How would we live without it? How do they live without it? And I wonder…when they are thirsty…shouldn’t we bring them water…Living Water?
So many stories of them…those people whose suffering seems distant and faceless through windows and closing doors…those people…those people…the ones we choose not to help…sure that someone else will send a card, open their wallets, share the Gospel…love.
Like the bleakness of winter we surround ourselves in this sad, dark envelope of Christianapathy. We shrivel and whither like late season leaves and think that going through the motions of showing up at church, singing when the praise band strikes a tune or praying over a meal make us glorious and life-filled.
I watch as beautiful, talented, passionate women sit by and wait for someone else to plan, someone else to encourage a hurting friend, someone else to stand up for Jesus. I, too, am guilty of indulging in this Christianapathy….warm Bible studies, over steaming cups…the world rolls on outside the window…suffering women search for friends, for security, for Jesus….
The world is cold, the darkness presses in on all sides, and here we sit holding the Word…the Light; we hit send instead of speaking the Word to souls drowning in meaningless noise; we choose comfort and waiting on someone else to do it when Jesus said, “whatever you did for one…you did for me; and whatever you did not do for one…you did not do for me.”
We choose this soul-deadening practice of comfort zones and wasted opportunities. We choose winter and bleak landscapes, when the promise of Hope and new Life was His breath into our lungs…breath pours out Words and grace…a whisper of warmth for blooms that await.
We are the promise of spring. We are the promise of new Life…we breathe grace and love. We can embrace our roles as Christians as whisperers of warming grace or we can choose soul-deadening, Jesus stealing, Christianapathy.