So, where’s your Florida?  Every year thousands of people from the Northeast and other parts of the country leave the comforts of their homes to head south to spend their winters in “sunny Florida.”  In many circles these folks are kindly referred to as “snowbirds.”  In reality though it seems more appropriate to observe they are actually fleeing the impending discomforts of their homes brought on by the brutally cold winters of the north. Having grown up in Florida I’ve seen this scene play out year over year for as long as I can remember.  Doesn’t it seem many of us follow the same pattern so as not to have the face the “winter” seasons of our lives?  Don’t we expend untold amounts of energy (and money) trying to escape those times in our lives when instead of experiencing a winter wonderland we are facing our own winter wastelands?  As I write this, myself and a few friends are working our way through a book that has us identifying the various winter seasons of our own lives.  You know those times of life when we feel as though we’re in the desert wastelands with no water in sight. As we’ve met and discussed this as a group we’ve seen that sometimes the winter season is short and at other times it feels like the harshness of the drought just keeps on coming.  To gain a better grasp on the implications of this to our individual lives we’ve found ourselves drilling down on both the big picture and shoe leather perspectives on what and how our winter seasons have made us into the people we are today. Perhaps you can think of your own winter seasons.  Perhaps too you can pinpoint how these times of difficulties have made you stronger for the ensuing days ahead. But isn’t that the point of winter?  In fact, doesn’t winter always foretell the coming of springtime? A time when the resistant or controlling areas of our lives get pruned back in such a way as to provide for the new growth brought about by a changed life.  Unlike the annual pilgrimage of the “snowbird” from the north to Florida to escape winter shouldn’t we welcome wintertime in our personal lives as we anticipate the harvest of springtime?  Think on this.  Isn’t it so often true that we usually emerge from the greatest times of struggle into stronger, more resilient people? So, should we actually be fleeing to Florida or find our Florida right where we are?  Absent a growing faith it seems we’ll always choose to flee rather than “winter” with the One that holds our future in his hands. Peace.