February 2, 2013. The date stuck in my mind like a florescent pink sticky note on the door of an empty white fridge. In my mind I went back to that date and dredged the depths of my memory for some significance in that particular day but came up with nothing. Not even an inkling of importance surfaced. I couldn't even recall where I was living in February of 2013. I tried to recall the circumstances that encapsulated that time period of my life and couldn't think of anything.
After scouring my own feeble memory I turned to the internet for help. I clicked through old pictures and FaceBook posts but nothing stood out as noteworthy. I opened up journals and the archives of Pippy Love only to discover that my creative juices hadn't been flowing on February 2, 2013. I hadn't written a single world.
I almost decided to give up searching, convinced that the pink sticky note had the wrong date or wasn't meant for me in the first place. But then I remembered one thing from February 2, 2013. I remembered Phil.
To be honest, I didn't remember anything special about Groundhogs Day 2013, which falls on February 2 of every year, but I did remember that Phil came out of his hole in the ground and made a pronouncement. A quick Google search revealed his meteorological prediction and reminded me what was so very special about February 2, 2013.
Phil didn't see his shadow. Gobbler's Knob rejoiced because spring would be coming early. Punxatawney Phil's pronouncement brought hope to every northerner. Even though February 2, 2013 was snowy and frigid, Phil's optimism lifted spirits and warmed hearts. His appearance announced to the world that winter would end. Spring, flowers and sunshine would come back once again.
As history would have it, Phil wasn't right about his weather prediction in February 2013. He didn't see his shadow but maybe he had his eyes closed because March 2013 ended up being colder than average. A deep freeze set in and lasted longer than meteorological models, or a groundhog, had predicted. Phil's timing was a month off but his hope was right on schedule.
Maybe what Phil knew when he made his prediction was that the coming two months were going to be worse than the two that had gone before it. Hands would be colder than they had been all January long. Boots would be soaked through for weeks on end. Furnaces would be working over time and so would the city's salt machines. Maybe Phil knew that we would all need a little hope to hold onto when winter lasted six, eight, even ten weeks longer.
Dear friend, today if you are in the middle of your own heart's winter, hold onto the hope of spring. I can't predict when it will come. I won't even pretend that my shadow will provide a clue for when the cold trials of your life will thaw, but I know this much. God has planned for you hope and a future. This winter will not go on forever. It may get colder before it gets warmer. It may snow harder before you see a single blade of green grass. But don't lose hope. Hold on to the promise of the coming spring because, shadow or no shadow, Phil's prognostication is always true. The seasons always change. The snow always melts. And, thanks be to God, the sun always shines again.