it's still winter. as much as that 65 degree day we had last week tried to tease me into thinking that it's not, it is very clearly still winter. it's cold. it's bitter cold. it's gray. it's dark. it's snowy. i want it to be spring, but it isn't spring. it's still winter.
but today as i was fighting against the morning chill, walking jack to school, i heard something. you know what i heard? birdsong. and not just one, either. this wasn't just one confused bird, back early from it's southern vacation. no, this was a whole host of morning singer/worm-getters.
it certainly doesn't feel like spring. but as i focused on the little green blades of spring flowers knifing their way through the frozen earth, and listened to the cacophony of bird songs, i realized that nature is acting like it's spring.
and this reminded me of something. i remember when i was in high school i was struggling with the practice of spiritual discipline, particularly prayer and studying the scriptures. i remember sharing this struggle with my mentor who asked me why i struggled. i remember replying that sometimes i just didn't feel anything. i didn't feel like praying. i didn't feel like God was listening. i didn't feel any response. i simply would pray and pray but i didn't feel anything. i was whining about this when my mentor said something that i have never forgotten. he said, "greg, don't pray when you feel like it, pray until you feel like it.
during the month of february, i've been teaching a class about marriage and relationships at the church. as i have been reading and researching for the class, i keep coming across the modern notion that it is okay to end our marriages when we just don't feel in love anymore. something (or someone) else seems more exciting or satisfying, and we give ourselves permission to back out of our solemn covenant because we simply don't feel like it anymore.
but i am reminded of the birds, and the words of my mentor. we don't wait until the weather warms up before we start singing our songs. we sing them now. we don't wait until we feel like praying before we pray; we pray until we feel like it. likewise, we don't love only when we feel like it. we just sing. we just pray. we just love. until spring comes, and the weather of the heart warms up and we feel like grabbing the hand of the one we love and going for a walk. you may not feel like it now. it may feel like the winter of your discontent. but do it anyway. do what paul says to do in colossians: put on love. even if you don't feel like it. spring will come again.