It was snowing. Again. Another bitterly cold morning in Chicago.
Nancy sighed, dreading her commute. As a licensed professional counselor, she worked hard to make others’ lives better by helping them become who they’re meant to be.
She loved her work, but snow on the ground made it hard for her to get around. Nancy was born with spina bifida, which meant she walked with braces on her legs and used canes for balance. This time of year, she would get the winter blues.
During the long months of winter, Nancy lived for spring. She and I met in a small online writers’ critique group. Whenever she emailed our group to say she had seen and smelled her first lilac of the season, we could hear the joy and relief in her words. Now, whenever I hear the word lilacs, I automatically think of Nancy.
A few years ago, our group was stunned when Nancy was diagnosed with stomach cancer. She fought it valiantly but succumbed the following March, a week short of the first day of spring. She was 33.
“Spring is when God gets to show off,” Nancy once wrote. “I can’t believe pussy willows just ‘got here’ by some cosmic accident. It's not just the complexity of nature that screams intelligent design. Many people think that the complicated relationships of plants, animals, and even science are an example of evidence that God exists.”
But for her the opposite was also evidence of God’s existence. “As far as we know, the only job of the pussy willow is to be pretty. No real purpose, just pure, extravagant, gratuitous pleasure. And lilacs. As far as I know, the only reason that lilacs exist is to make me exceedingly happy. Only God could make up stuff like this.”
When it comes to beauty, I've often said that last sentence too.
I miss my friend, especially this time of year with the anniversary of her death approaching. And I think it’s fitting that she’s often on my mind at the start of the season we both love the most.
If you struggle with the winter blues, how do you combat that feeling? Do you agree or disagree that nature is evidence of God’s existence?
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