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Finding the invincible summer within

posted Aug 6, 2011, 4:04 PM by Elizabeth Batson
This essay captures my own feelings about living through difficult times.

From Invincible Summer by Reverend Bruce Clear

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. - Albert Camus

Like the winter season, the wintry times of life make great demands upon us. Like the season, winter time in the heart impresses itself upon us, and reminds us of our fragility, our subjugation to conditions beyond our control; it reminds us of our mortality.

A wintry faith can be committed to accepting the tragic dimensions of life. It does not seek to transform sorrow into joy, but instead to confront sorrow on its own terms, and find some meaning within it. There is hope in a wintry faith, but it is the kind of hope that comes from strength, not by defeating pain, but by learning from it, and learning to live with it, learning to live in spite of it, and learning to live after it has left its mark. It makes us ready to accept summer, when summer comes.

But winter is just one season, and very few people can live in winter continually. Eventually, there comes the Spring thaw, and the promise of summer is felt. In the darkest nights of winter, we know that summer will come. Eventually, the coldness of winter in the heart begins to fade, and a new season emerges. Those who appreciate winter, who are strengthened by the cold absence felt in the heart, are also capable of appreciating summer, when it is summer's turn to come. But winter is never forgotten. The memory of a bitter furious cold will linger, sometimes close at hand and sometimes far away, but the memory never fades completely for those who appreciate a wintry faith.

From a sermon given by Rev. Bruce Clear on January 11, 2004 at All Souls Unitarian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana. The full sermon is at