I'm a new Mainer, resident of the state of Maine, that is. I've been here less than three years - so I'm still allowed to say, "I love the winter."
The joy of being able to have a skating rink in our yard or to head out my back door on cross-country skis on a regular basis still hasn't worn off. Yet the irony isn't lost on me that one of the nice things about a long winter is how much a warm sunny day feels like a true gift.
Last year, on one of the first warm days after weeks of snowy cold, I simply had to go outside first thing in the morning, still in my robe, to spend some time on the front stoop - cleared of snow for the first time in several months. The almost two feet of snow still covering most of the yard glistened in the warm sun. The cooler night air had left a frozen crust on the top, like a carpet of diamonds.
I sat on the step and closed my eyes, content to finally feel the warmth of the sun on my face - a quiet moment of delight, made even more so after the long winter.
Hearing the birds that were returning, seeing the morning sun over the trees behind the neighbors' houses, I had simultaneous feelings of connection with the neighborhood and its spring awakening, and of a sanctuary-like solitude, as if all this were just for me, just to bring me a smile that day.
My 5-year-old woke up and came downstairs. Seeing me through the glass of the front door, she opened it and came out to me sitting on the stoop. I admit to feeling sad at first that she had gotten up early, since I greedily wanted a bit more time to quietly enjoy this gift.
She began chatting in her very sprightly way, but I think she also sensed the freshness and specialness of the morning sun. In her light-blue fleece pajamas and pink slippers, she ventured out onto the snow a bit, and my greed vanished into appreciation for her dance with the crusty snow. She soon realized it supported her weight, and she ventured out farther, delighted with her ability to "walk on the water." She made up a song, in her typical way of singing her way through her adventures.
Watching her broadened my smile and added to my sense of the gift of the morning. I found myself saying, "Anna, it is impossible for you not to be loved!" She held out her hands and turned in the warm sun. "I know," she said with a naturalness that was neither embarrassed nor cocky, but sweetly strong in its natural confidence. May she grow up to maintain that sensibility, knowing how well loved she is.
I'm convinced that the words came out of my mouth the way they did because I see what she calls forth as more than just my maternal affection. Rather, I have a sense that my maternal affection is a token of a much broader, greater truth. The love I feel for her reminds me of my own sense of being very well loved.
I indeed am fortunate to have grown up in a very loving home. but there is a much bigger love that I am aware of, that I strive to walk into, out from, and with every day. Mary Baker Eddy described this Love as like an open fount of water, calling to all who are thirsty to come and drink. She wrote in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals" (p. 13).
I knew that morning - impelled, no doubt, by the gift of the sunny day and crispy snow and little girl's unaffected song and dance - that the universe is pouring forth upon not only Anna, but upon all of us, more love than we could ever know. The gifts of that morning reminded me that we are all children of a loving Creator, God, whom I also call divine Love, or Spirit. As the very children of God, it is impossible for any of us not to be loved - to be beloved. We are the Creator's beloved.
That is a privileged status we all have equal claim to. May we all feel the warmth of that light on our faces each morning, and dance and sing our own unique songs and dances in unforced awareness of that love.