While walking across campus to my morning class, I joined up with a student. "I can't wait for warmer weather," she admitted.
I understood. I'm not generally bothered by winter, but I'm developing a serious itch for sunshine, warmth, and color. The fence that separates our backyard from our neighbor's farm has served as a metaphor for the lingering winter: it's stretching on, mostly devoid of color, as far as the eye can see.
My student continued, "If it were 75 or 80 and blue skies everyday, I'd always be happy."
I gave little thought to her statement until I was walking back to my car after my final class. As I looked from the gray pavement, salt-stained and gritty, up to the gray sky, a part of me agreed with her proclamation: a 75 degree day would be entirely welcome right now.
Still, it's bleak days like these that make me appreciate spring all the more.
I know myself. If I had perfect weather all the time, at some point I'd take it for granted.
I'd forget to appreciate how good it feels when sunshine kisses my skin with warmth. I'd forget to savor the fresh fragrances of a spring breeze. I'd too quickly forget how much easier it is to move around and run errands without accounting for the girls' cumbersome jackets while bucking them into their car seats and wrangling on their boots.
But after a long winter? These simple pleasures aren't taken for granted.
When I reached the top of the parking deck, I paused for a moment to look across campus: an aerial view of the historic buildings framed by the leafless trees; a bleached, but tranquil, sky. Beautiful in its own right.
And at that moment, the cold felt alright.
I thanked God for the winters that I've faced. I thanked God that things aren't always perfect in my life. My struggles, conflicts, and inconveniences might not be comfortable, but they're what draw me to Him. Through them, I learn and grow the most.
It's only because of the cold that I can so deeply appreciate the warmth when it comes.