Nothing like a lesson drawn from a weather website. It seemed extra cold this year before winter even struck officially on December 21. The girls and I were bundling outside in day after day teen temperatures and having to talk loudly over the old house register as it drew the cold from our bones and warmed it in the new furnace. The porch thermometer gave the daily news, but how cold was it supposed to be? I clicked on Historic Averages and this is what I saw:
The extremes are smoothed out. Just a one degree drop every few days, and another single degree drop a few days later, and then another, until an uneventful (though slightly extended) non-catastrophic bottom in January turns casually upward again, one degree every few days toward warmth. I can't say why this obvious pattern surprised me (It is a chart about averages, after all), but it did. Maybe it's because 2010 was so personally jagged. Emotionally high highs and low lows with enough intensity to keep me looking myopically at daily temperatures instead of historic averages. I know the sayings, "This, too, shall pass" and "What goes around comes around." In the middle of it all, however, you just see what immediately faces you.
As extremes go, this Friday, February 18, will be 61 degrees. And so this morning I remembered Dorothy Bass describing how the "recurring patterns of longing and fulfillment, of repentance and grace, encircle us again and again.... Over time, the round years accumulate into a thick line, and we find that we have been caught up in the story of God" (Receiving the Day).
I didn't like 2010 in the way that I don't like 15 degrees and biting wind. Yet I love 2010 because this thickening line is my line, and, over the long, grace-filled haul, it really isn't all that jagged.
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