I currently live in Texas, but I am up visiting my family in the great state of Kansas. I have lived in Texas for most of a decade and so I have become accustomed to the beautiful southern weather. Hot sticky summers, but wonderfully comfy winters.
So when I arrived in Kansas last week and it was 10 degrees and snowing... I wasn’t super excited. Many Texans would be ecstatic because they never see snow, but the cold was too much for me. Most Kansans I talked to didn’t really like it being that cold either, and multiple people told me they wanted it to go away. Well do I have good news for them!
Here in the U.S. (and most of the northern hemisphere), our winters are dictated by a number of factors. One of the major factors is something called the polar vortex. You might have heard of this during really cold awful winters, but the polar vortex is a jet stream in the arctic. This jet stream keeps the really cold air contained up in the very northern regions of the world. When this jet stream is weaker, that cold air is not as well contained and moves farther south, as demonstrated in this diagram from NOAA.
Last year the jet stream was weak, but this year it is very strong. This has led to an unusually warm winter this year. Because of this, there will be less snow than usual in the Great Plains. According to weather predictions, last week's snow may be the only winter weather we get this year. Statistically, warm beginnings to winters lead to warm winters overall. (A shocking development)
So if that little bit was all the snow I’m going to get this year, that’s okay with me. In my short life I’ve lived through blizzards and ice storms. I’ve lived through really terrible winters. I’ve seen the chaos and destruction it can cause. Even just looking at the above graphic, the left picture of the strong polar vortex seems much nicer, calmer.
I like calm. I stress and worry about a lot of things, definitely more than I should. Because of this, small hiccups and changes to plans can really throw my life into chaos. I thrive on calm and peace. I need that in as many areas of my life as I can get.
I find that routines help with this. Getting into a routine helps prevent many unforeseen troubles. Many can see routines as boring, but there is such a beauty in it. Recently it was explained to me like this:
- My husband and I tell each other that we love each other all the time. We say it every time we hang up a phone call. We say it every time one of us leaves the other. We say it in our regular conversations. It is a normal thing that we do regularly. How much more worried and stressed would I be if we didn’t do this over and over again every single day? There is a strength in repetition.
When it comes to prayer, it must be the same. When we talk regularly and often with God, we understand his love for us. We express our love for Him. It can give us a great sense of calm and normalcy to have that as a part of our routine. Then, when life throws us curveballs, when it tries to throw us off of our usual routine with relationship troubles or job difficulties or financial problems, we can still remain at peace.
When the jet stream is strong, it keeps all of that cold air that can cause suffering and hardships away from us so that we only experience a handful of cold days. It helps us to remain in our peaceful life. The same is true when our bond with Christ is strong. It doesn’t guarantee that we won’t have hard days, but it makes them easier to deal with. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and
I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
- Matthew 11:28-30
This doesn’t say that Christ will take all of your troubles away, He says that He will help us carry our burdens. Having that strong relationship with Him helps our problems to seem smaller. Christ helps us to maintain that calm in our life, and I for one really need that.