An Encouraging Word, Feb. 3

Published 8:26 am Friday, February 3, 2017

An indomitable spirit


Howard Coop

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February 2, while it may not be a holiday with a day away from work, is a special day. The sun, in its annual journey northward, has reached the midpoint between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. That means that winter with its bad weather is half over and spring with warmer and sunnier days is only six weeks away. That’s something that can be celebrated with joy.

After the cold and dreary days and long nights of winter, we need something to lift our spirits.  So, folklore has given us something to make the day special. It has dubbed the day Groundhog Day. On that day, according to folklore, the little brown marmot, known as a groundhog, after a long winter nap, awakes and leaves the comfort of his den. Basking in the light of day, he pauses and looks around.  If he does not see his shadow, he remains outside, for he knows that better weather and warmer days are ahead. However, if the sleepy groundhog sees his shadow, he quickly returns to the comfort of his den, finds his warm bed, and sleeps through six more weeks of bad weather.

I don’t know how reliable the little brown groundhog is as a weather prognosticator, but with absolute certainty, I do know this: The cold days of winter are gradually getting longer, and the long nights are getting shorter.  The average daily temperature is inching upward ever so slowly, and spring, with warmer and more pleasant days, is not far away. I know in due time, it will be here.  I can count on that. 

There is another certainty. An indomitable spirit of optimism is in the human heart. That spirit gives hope even during the darkest of days and the worst of conditions. It keeps us going and saves us from giving up.  Regardless of the immediate circumstances, that spirit enables us to look beyond the present and know that better things are ahead.