I have to admit that in my adult years, I never really cared very much for February. Sure, there’s Groundhog Day, and Valentine’s Day, and my brother’s birthday and George and Abe’s birthdays, and usually Mardi Gras, so there’s a lot of celebration packed into the smallest month. I think that’s meant to counteract the fact that it is a crummy month. Especially up here in the Northland, it is a set of four weeks that has no redeeming value, especially in terms of weather. Now, if I were totally honest, I would throw January in with it, but that’s my birthday month, so I give that one a pass. But February is always dark, always windy, always cold, always the month when your car doesn’t work, fully of the “old snow” of the last three months, and no promise of twittering birds or opportunities to sit out on the patio – up here at least – because you would have to shovel the snow and ice off of everything first! It’s the month you have to get past, in order for any real change to occur. Now, I do remember when I lived in Nashville, and even as a boy living in South Carolina, that February started the opening of the world to spring, and all that meant to us.
But not up here. Up here, it snows in February, and when that happens, it is “grumbling snow.” No magical beauty – just a time when you hope it doesn’t snow any more, because it starts to pile up the frozen, dirty small mountains around the city, and begins to whisper “Maybe, if we get much more, it will flood this year.” You see, the Red River of the North flows north, for some goofy reason, and when it is so cold and snowy in February, the ice on the river gets thicker and thicker, and so when Spring truly comes, the river thaws, like it should, from the south first. That’s fine when your current flows south, but when it’s flowing north, things just pack up behind itself, and with a solid block of ice on the river, the water just flows out of the bank and into backyards and basements. That’s February’s promise.
So, when I woke up this morning, one of the first things that flashed through my mind was that we made it – February is gone for another year, and March has come to stay for a while. And just like the groundhog and six weeks more of winter has a completely different understanding up here – we WANT only six more weeks, as we start February – the old saying that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb doesn’t fly for us. We have been fighting off the lions since just after Christmas, so even if things do get a little messy, and we end up with a March blizzard, which is not uncommon, we know it’s just the continuation of the winter we have already lived, and that lion’s teeth are starting to decay a bit. Bring it on, because you can’t hold on to winter much longer!
Actually, that’s very true. The forecast even whispered that this coming Saturday, we may get up to 50 degrees! We probably have gone nearly four months without that temperature – above zero, that is. Maybe the snow will mostly be gone around the grill, and I could thaw some steaks and bake some potatoes… oh, that’s a sweet thought, for sure. And even if it doesn’t happen this first week of March, it could happen next week, and certainly the third week. We have winter on the run, and even though it will take a while, the sun is up even before I take Cheri to work, and it’s still up when I pick her up after 5pm, so you can see there are good times ahead.
And yes, I know we are still in the middle of the CoVid era. It’s been just about a year since this all began in earnest. Schools are still messed up, restaurants are still iffy, and most of us are on our third or fourth sets of masks. And there are still longer and longer lists of obituaries, and funerals being postponed to a “later date.” Maybe our entire nation should just plan at some point in the future to have one day, nationwide, for all the funerals that have been delayed. One day, to celebrate those lives, and to thank God for the blessing they were to us. Imagine what that would do for our country’s minds and hearts…
So, c’mon in, March. We’ve been waiting for you. Yes, it’s just the turning of a new day, and the turning of a calendar page, but it still means something. We are on our way! Enjoy the day…
Word for the day: firgun. Pronounced FUR-gun. Pretty simple. This is a fantastic word, that we should all learn, and use, and live out. It’s actually Hebrew in origin, or Yiddish, more appropriately, from the word farginen, and some believe it also has some German roots to it. It’s a fairly new word, as words go, but it is a powerfully great word, I think. It means to have a genuine, unselfish delight or pride in another person’s achievement or simply when something good or great happens to someone else. It is a joy that has a total absence of negativity or envy/jealousy because something great happened to someone else. Somebody has also said that it’s like “tooting someone else’s horn!” Our hearts are happy as can be because something good happened to another. Like I said – a great word to learn, and to learn how to live out!
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.