As I am writing this the weather seems to have turned from summer to winter in one night. This morning, when I stepped into the cold air and falling rain, I wanted to retreat back inside and snuggle up beside a nice fire to read a book. It just felt like hibernating weather. Sometimes I enjoy this sense of retreating from the world and seeing the world through the lens of a book. But I could never be in such a hibernating mode for long.
I still remember one late autumn in Switzerland. There was rain and mist every day. We had not seen the sun for nearly two weeks. I was busy working and studying, but one day I could not bear it any longer. I looked at the weather forecast and noted that the cloud level was supposed to be at 1,100 m. I didn’t really have the time to go to the high mountains, which would have required a train and cable car trip of at least 1 ½ hours each way. I saw that there was a peak with an altitude of 1,217 m not far from a nearby bus route. So I put my one-year-old daughter in the child carrier and caught the bus to the village up the mountain at 1,100 m altitude. Mist and cloud swirled all around us as we got out of the bus. With my daughter on the back I walked through the dripping pine forest up the mountain.
And then we arrived up on the hill. While whiffs of cloud still drifted by, we experienced the sensation of sunlight on our skin again as we looked down on the sea of cloud beneath us.
Unfortunately we were a bit late and the sun soon set behind the distant high mountains. I lifted my daughter back into the child carrier and we descended back into the clouds. But now my heart felt lighter, because I knew that during the day the sun was still shining above the grey and I had experienced it. The additional week of mist and rain was soon over. But I never forgot how the light shines in the mountains above the apparent dullness of the everyday life in the valley.
Similarly, at times when our own life seems overcast, we need to have the perspective that the sun is still shining above whatever befalls us. Particularly as Christians we know that God is with us in all circumstances and that we can experience joy and light again.