It was a hard winter.

Even in those moments when we thought we could tuck in for a bit, with the occasional trip to the Agency Store or smelt camp, not necessarily in that order, the ice dams formed.

We had ice dams on our roof this winter. You probably know ice dams are those places on the eaves of your roofs where the insulation is a bit thin, and the snow on the roof in warmer places melts and runs down the roof until it hits a cold place, where it refreezes into an ice dam. The snowmelt behind the dam cannot get past, so it backs up under the shingles and runs down the inside walls.

I can see by the cracks in the ceilings here that this has happened before. As winter ended, on the (Weather) Channel of Fear, ominous comments were been made about hydrological reports: the snowpack being so deep that, if it should thaw in a hurry, truly dangerous floods might ensue. Upta camp, though, the little stream that runs under the road and into the lake was still flowing. Flowing water may find its way into places it shouldn’t be — like dripping from the ceiling fixture in the living room — but as long as it is moving, it isn’t freezing.

Water finds its way into most of the world’s religions: Hindus bathe in the Ganges, Muslim and Jewish folks practice forms of ritual washing and Christians have Baptism.

Sometimes, though, I think of how we “Frozen Chosen” (and I don’t mean watching Elsa and Anna for the 432nd time) can run hot and cold with our faith.

In love, God melts our colder places and we flow for awhile, then maybe we hit another cold place and back up into ourselves. Then maybe we warm up a bit, the dams break, and we flow along again.

It takes cold nights and warm days to move sap out of the maple trees. As long as the spirit is moving in us, we don’t freeze up.

Folks say how important it is to say active; to keep moving.

But winter is a time of stillness, of conserving energy, of hibernation, and there is a beauty and a spiritual discipline to that aspect of winter, too: a patience; a waiting. Say a prayer, then, for those who for whatever reason cannot move as well as they used to and who are still leading meaningful, faithful lives. May we all move toward valuing not only what we do, but who we are as children of the living God.

There is a way in which even stillness is movement.

“Be still,” says the Psalmist, “and know that God is.”

Hot or cold, flowing or frozen, moving or still, let’s keep going where the Spirit is leading us, and be grateful that, if nothing else, we can at least leave the tap running until the frost is out of the ground.

The Rev. Mark E. Wilson is designated pastor and teacher at the First Congregational UCC of Waterville. Email him at [email protected] Windows on Faith is published every Saturday.


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