A Prayer for February
Good and gracious God,
I don’t mean to be disrespectful (after all, you are the Author of All time),
But February is definitely not my favorite month of the year.
On my worst days, I might even ask you, “What good is February?”—
except that it’s the shortest month of the year,
the days are noticeably longer,
and February gets us a little closer to spring.
I realize, Beloved One, that some people love February—
like little kids who have birthdays in February… or people who love watching
the Super Bowl… or those who get a kick out of Ground Hog Day…
or (if they’re religious) Candlemas Day… or those who look forward to
the third Monday, Presidents Day, a federal holiday.
And I realize February is Black History month and American Heart month.
And that’s good.
But February often marks the beginning of Lent too. Enough said.
Where I live, (that’s Chardon, Ohio, USA northern hemisphere as you well know, God)
February can be the bleakest month of the year
with its freezing temperatures, snowstorms, ice storms,
and a huge canopy of gray sky that hangs over everything.
Slate gray. Almost every day. Depressing.
For me, the only day in February that lifts my spirits is Valentine’s Day,
with its red hearts, scrumptious chocolates, long-stemmed roses,
and its overt celebration of love in all its forms! Now, that’s good. Very good.
But maybe I need to view February differently.
Maybe I should see it as a great symbol of all those times in life
that are dull, gray, sad, grim, barren. Those bleak times when
there seems to be few things to look forward to.
I realize, of course, that it can’t be sunny, warm, and bright all the time.
That’s unrealistic—and maybe even unhealthy.
For we need those times in our life
when there’s little to do but hunker down, hang on, wait, trust, and hope.
Hope. Now that’s the operative word.
Maybe February is the best month of the year
for giving us practice in hoping.
In fact, if lived correctly, February can be a refreshing and welcome space
between the recent rush and bustle of the holidays
and the upcoming busyness of spring:
gardening, yard work, spring cleaning, weddings and graduations.
And so, Dear Creator of All Time,
I will try to welcome and even embrace February this year.
And in doing so, I ask for your grace to enable me to welcome and embrace
all the days of my life,
knowing full well that all time is a precious, precious gift.
And if I find myself getting bogged down this month,
I will recall those beautiful words of sacred scripture:
“Behold, now is the acceptable time.
Behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). Amen.
What are your thoughts and feelings about February? (Where do you live? Does that influence your attitude?)
What are some of the ways you “weather” those times in your life that are dull, grim, bleak?
Do you celebrate Valentine’s day? If so, how?
Here’s today’s video: “Now is the Acceptable Time” written by Barbara Bridge. This choral version has not only the lyrics, but some beautiful pictures to brighten your February day!
I welcome you to share a comment below or respond to someone else’s comment. We all would love to hear from you. Thank you!
Good morning, Sr. Melannie…
February…yes, the days are longer and the sun is slanting stronger, but in my region of the country — Massachusetts — it is also the month of blizzards, bad ones, like the infamous blizzard of ’78. And who can forget the winter of 2015, when around here we had a blizzard literally every weekend! No good! But you are correct, with every February day done we inch closer to spring. And speaking of spring, the ancient Celts saw Feb. 1st as the beginning of spring. I’m not sure why, but perhaps it had something to do with our surviving the ten darkest weeks of the year. I have to admit that I love the season of Lent, even though I’ve never kept a single Lenten resolve! Not a fan of Valentine’s day (sorry). In the end, you offer wise advice: “February can be a welcome and refreshing space.” As a teacher, February vacation was always my favorite, the one when done, I felt the most rested. This was a beautiful prayer, marked by your usual subtle wit and deep reverence!
February feels like the longest month to me! I’m in the mountains in Idaho. The cold and snow go on and on. I love cross-country skiing though. It is body prayer for me, praise God snow and wind. I try to embrace it, play in it, give thanks for February and the snow. Today I am healthy enough to ski. I give thanks.
Thank you for all of your reflections on February, Sr Melannie. And this is the first year I am thoroughly enjoying February! Perhaps it has something to do with turning 70 which has given me a better appreciation for every day is a gift. February gives me time for inside activities that I enjoy (like genealogy and helping others organize their tax paperwork) as I slow down between the busy seasons you mention. And I am with you all the way on the hopefulness of the days getting longer, which is pure joy to me. Happy Valentine’s Day!