Monday, February 6, 2017 brought summer-like temperatures and sunshine to my area. Running and biking that day felt exhilarating under the blue skies with wispy clouds and bright sunshine. As I ran and pedaled, I could not help but thank God over and over for the amazing weather in the middle of the winter season. The sunset lasted into the night, with absolute darkness not falling until 6:00 PM. The warm air blew gently through the night, keeping the skies clear so the moon could be seen.
Another Day, Another Change
Tuesday was still warm, but overcast and gray, a complete opposite in the sky from the day before. Rain dominated the day with water from the sky in heavy downpours, as well as light mists and medium sheets. Biking was not bad despite the misty rain that evening. Pedaling along I contemplated how so much could change in a 24 hour period. Not only had the skies and light changed, but also the amount of daylight, ability to do certain activities outdoors, and my perspective.
Wednesday, the winds blew in colder air and residual leaves from some of the trees and shrubs in my area. It felt and smelled like fall instead of winter. While walking my dogs, I found a leather leaf viburnum leaf in the yard. Its rough texture and deep purplish-brown hue stood out from the grass, calling my attention to it. I recognized it was from a neighbor’s bush. Though the day was rather gray, the leaf brought memories of the fall season’s brighter days to mind.
Today, we woke up to snow and colder temperatures, fueled by high winds from an Arctic air mass that has the jet stream dipping deep down into the southern United States. The jet stream’s long, ever-changing current of high winds has always fascinated me, and through the years I have learned to interpret and associate its location on the daily weather map in the newspaper to current weather conditions. The deeper south the current dips, the colder my area will be.
Four Seasons in Four Days
Observing the skies and surrounding nature the past four days makes me feel like I have experienced the four seasons of the year in four days. Monday’s summer-like conditions shot a mix of adrenaline and energy through my body and mind. Tuesday’s rain seemed to wash the dirt and dust of winter away from my soul. Wednesday was more of a ho-hum day with parts of positivity mixed in with grayness that left a rather somber feeling overall. Though today is cold and snowy, the white in the landscape and the sun passing through the thick snow clouds offers rays of hope for better days to come.
This pattern of high and low temperatures mixed with sun, snow, and rain has dominated much of the winter season in my area. While I appreciate the variety of nature these changes offer, I am not sure the human body is equipped to readily adapt to such abrupt changes. Perhaps this is why there are so many cases of viruses and flu ailments in my area and why peoples’ moods seem to change like the weather.
Changes in Perspective
Observing the skies this week has also given me a variety of perspectives from which to view life, including:
- The sunny side, where light penetrates the dark and provides energy for the future
- The rainy side, where water washes away the nastiness of life, allowing us to move on past the storms
- The windy side, where change comes and goes in a whisper, leading to new thoughts and feelings
- The snowy side, where the cold and wind force one to look deep within for strength and comfort
All of these perspectives in turn have good and bad qualities. Life cannot always be sunny, for without the other perspectives, we don’t appreciate the sun. Life can’t always be rainy, for too much of any one thing is simply not good. Life can’t always be windy, for too much change at once leads to misunderstanding and confusion. The snowy view to deep within allows us to understand ourselves, but may keep us from reaching out to others and understanding the world around us.
Though I don’t mind the current snowy view, I would like the skies to clear for Friday’s Full Snow Moon and penumbral eclipse (a subtle eclipse where only the outer more diffuse shadow of the earth falls upon the moon).
Beauty in Variety
All of these views, along with other perspectives, are needed to move us along on the journey. If we stop to view life too long from one perspective, we may not realize some of the greatest gifts before us, such as life itself, the care and concern of others for us, or the strength granted to the human spirit through life’s trials and tribulations.
Perhaps this is why the Bible contains many different books, each with a unique perspective upon which to view and learn about God and His mysterious ways. The authors of the books all lived through different aspects of life, history, and God’s ways. These authors presented their experiences, wisdom gained, and expectations in different ways, depending upon the audience to which they were writing.
- The Pentateuch, or first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis , Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) use stories to explain the origins of cultures and the peoples’ reactions to God’s laws. These books lay the foundation of a sunny view, though some of the stories are rather dark and grim.
- The history books (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Ester) continue explaining the history of the Israelites and their movements with stories. These books are similar to the rainy view, for they depict how the people moved forward, though not always with jubilation or readiness to comply.
- The books of poetry (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs) talk about pain, life, and love. To me, these books are the windy view, examining the coming and going of life and all the emotions that come along for the ride. Though these books are written in more poetic form, they do provide significant wisdom for everyday life in any generation or era.
- The books of the prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi) were written to call God’s people and their attention back to Him. These books ask the reader to look within, examine the inner beings of the heart and mind, and move upon the findings. Though not easy to read at times, these books also show how human nature’s first response is often to shy away from God, reassuring us that we are not alone in our natural reactions to certain situations.
In addition to the Old Testament books, the books of the New Testament offer historical accounts of Jesus’s life, teachings, and death through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and the Acts of the Apostles. The letters of Paul, James, Peter, John, and Jude, as well as the book of Revelation add insight to applying Jesus’ teachings to everyday life and to understanding God’s ways at work behind the scenes.
All of the books combined provide perspectives and wisdom for living through the four seasons of a year, and the many seasons of life. The differences in wording, theme, plot, format, and level of understanding are what paint the total picture of life and faith for each reader, and this picture is unique for every person.
May the variety we encounter in life experiences provide the perspective we need to move onward upon our journey. May we find value in each day’s blessings, be they small or large, and may we recognize the powers at work in the difference of a day.
The Difference of a Day
What a difference a day can make,
How the hours can take
What is in the heart and mind
And transform through time
One’s thoughts and feelings
Along with God’s healing
Grace and mysterious ways
In the difference of a day.
What a difference a day can make,
How the sun can create
Energy and enthusiasm inside,
Dispelling the darkness with the light,
Allowing one to see
Past what came to be
And move on
In a new dawn.
What a difference a day can make,
How the rain can take
The dust and dirt within the soul
And wash away the hurt untold
So that when the sun returns,
The lessons learned
Light eth path along the way
Through the difference of a day.
-Lisa A. Wisniewski
Resources and Related Links
Full Snow Moon – http://www.almanac.com/content/full-moon-names
History books of the Bible – http://bibleresources.americanbible.org/resource/historical-books
Jet stream – http://www.livescience.com/27825-jet-stream.html
Pentateuch – https://bible.org/seriespage/law-first-five-books
Penumbral eclipse – http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/what-is-a-penumbral-eclipse-of-the-moon
Poetry books of the Bible – http://bibleresources.americanbible.org/resource/books-of-wisdom-and-poetry
Prophet books of the Bible – http://bibleresources.americanbible.org/resource/prophetic-books
Weather and changing moods – https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/08/29/can-weather-affect-your-mood/