“In the midst of winter I discovered that there was in me an invincible summer.” Albert Camus
It was February. I woke up that morning. turned on the radio and quickly learned that the outside temperature was 15 degrees with a windchill of zero. I was in the midst of winter. I wanted to be in the middle of summer.
I didn’t want to go out in the wind and blowing snow that morning. Even later in the day, when the sun began to shine, I was hard-pressed to find warmth on that frigid day. The light and the warmth seemed too far away to be felt.
Where was summer? Where were the hot flashes when I needed them? Was there warmth to be found on this February day?
As it turns out, it was there. I found it in the sweet words of a dear friend. I found it in the leather, fleece-lined gloves I’ve had for years and somehow managed not to lose. I found it in the coat I could not live well without that day. I found it in the candles that were lit that evening as I sat under a blanket and sipped a cup of hot tea.
An invincible summer–that must be the kind of warmth and light that cannot be overcome by the bleakness of winter.
If we live long enough or if we are trying to live at all, we most likely will find ourselves in the bleak midwinter times of life. These are times when our bodies and souls are cold and freezing. We shiver in need of care, love, affection, peace, and quiet. We long for sustained moments of warmth, like the kind we can feel on long summer days.
I know that the cold days of winter are a friend to some. I have friends who find their joy in the crisp air and the bright, nearly blinding sunshine of a January day. They can delight in the beauty of falling snow and in the delicate and intricate patterns of frost on a window. They can feel a winter wind that somehow does not penetrate their being; it simply serves as a means of refreshment to their souls.
For those of us who do not find this kind of joy in winter, we search for that invincible summer. We look for it in soft candlelight, a crackling fire, a cozy blanket, flannel sheets, a good glass of wine, thick socks, comfy sweaters, in hugs from our children, or in the tenderness of a lover’s kiss.
I expect that Camus meant for his contrast between winter and summer to be a reminder that we can find warmth from other sources if we seek it and that we are to look for the warmth that can be found within. So, we ask ourselves, “how and where do we find this invincible summer, the summer that cannot be overcome by the coldness of the world that tries to reach into the depths of our being and freeze our hearts?”
The only source I know for this invincible warmth is the love of God, made known to us through Jesus and through the love and care of those precious souls who are placed in our lives to show us that kind of love. It is invincible warmth made known by means of unconditional love. It is not a limited love. It is a love that cannot die. And, we can always know this invincible summer when in the presence of this sweet, life-giving kind of love.
So, in this season of winter, on the days when the cold cuts through till our very being feels like a frozen body of water, know that there is warmth. There is an invincible summer that refuses to allow this cold to overwhelm and overtake us. It cannot do that because we belong to the Source of the warmth, the Creator of the invincible summer.