Every bolt of snow, every needle of sleet, pierced us through worn coats and splintered bricks that had somehow gotten us through this winter, another winter. It seemed endless: The first day of spring felt like a truce rather than the beginning of a season in which a seed could grow, let alone open. We hadn't "made it"; we had only survived.
At least, that was all I could say. That was still more than some of the others said. There was no talk of grace or gifts or God saving us for some higher purpose. People say things like that when they can't say anything else but imagine someone is hearing, let alone listening. None of us, though, had to: We all knew that we made it to that moment, and some of us to this one because...because of the season, of its cold iron. Some were struck by sleet; others were inside; still fewer got to shelter.
People who believe miracles have been performed--on them, for them--think that the coming days, weeks, years have been given to them. Some try to do great and wonderful things; perhaps they can make the next winter better for someone else. Or so they believe. Perhaps they can. But when you have survived the winter, the one that you just experienced, you know that the next season might not be spring, let alone summer, for someone else. You might be the seed that somehow landed where it was warm, where it was dry, where, at least, you were covered. But it could just as well have been barren--or, perhaps, the months in bondage made you so.
Some do not have such fortune. They might have landed right next to you. They die before they fall. Most of them, anyway. There are those who get to this season, to the summer. And they can see it coming all over again: They throb around their scars before the rain falls, before the sleet pierces them again. And they no longer believe--if they ever did--that it has to end some time. There is only a truce on the first day of spring. And they cannot live for another. For them, there is no forgiveness from those who believe in God and grace and gifts. For the rest of us, there is only the truth, about them and this season.
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