I’ve always loved snow days. As a child, the anticipation of snow was always fun. I grew up in Maryland where there was some snow, but not a lot, so snow days were fun and out of the ordinary. They were filled with sledding on the nearby golf course, making snow men, and that never-ending attempt to finally build an igloo. If Eskimos could do it…why couldn’t our neighborhood clan? I never did check that off of my childhood bucket list of sorts!
Later, as a mom, I just loved snow days. I loved the anticipation of having the kids stay home and enjoy the snow. With so many little ones in the house, it was quite a challenge to keep them bundled up. Seems like by the time I got everybody out the door, one of them was ready to come back on in. The dryer was always running, hot chocolate was a must, and watching a movie was always sweet when the kids were all so tired from playing in the snow that they’d watch in silence, then fall off to sleep, on the couch, on the floor, in a chair.
Now, as a teacher, I must say, I continue to look forward to those snow days, quite a bit actually! I’m worse than my own kids with watching the weather reports to see if we might get a day to catch up. I love having days when we can just have a pass and not go anywhere and hunker down and enjoy the time here and get caught up on that long list of things I haven’t checked off yet.
So, this snow day started out pretty well…
…it’s not every day that your husband brings ya breakfast in bed. I think he felt guilty cause he indulged in the danish that we were supposed to have for Sunday morning pre-church. Not much of it left, I’m afraid, but at least he shared a piece! Everything tastes better when eaten in bed with a hot cup of coffee.
So after that indulgent breakfast, I got up and the snow was so beautiful that I really felt like going for a walk, and believe it or not, the man who delivered my morning breakfast said yes he’d go for a walk, too. So I put on lots of layers and grabbed my boots from the garage that hadn’t been worn in quite awhile and we braved the cold.
And here are a few thoughts from a walk in the snow…
We all leave traces behind. Everyday. Snow or not. Foot prints. Tire treads. We all leave our mark in this world. Every single solitary day. Sometimes we see and feel and know the traces, the impact. Sometimes we don’t. Am thinking I want my ‘footprints’ to be productive, constructive, even beautiful. And when they aren’t? Well, thank goodness for figurative snow that melts and time that heals and forgives and removes and even, yes, redeems. And about that?…here’s another thought about snow.
It is white. Quite an observation, I know. But yes, it is white, bright, and reflects light like crazy. It covers. It fills in the gaps. Even things that seem to be white in our everyday lives often appear a bit beige or yellowish when compared to the incredible white of snow. And that’s a beautiful thing. Especially when you think about this verse…
“‘Come now let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord.
‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they will be white as snow.'”
Yep. White as snow is a good thing. A beautiful thing. An amazing, redemptive thing that God can cover us with grace like a bright white light blanket of snow. Fresh. New. White as winter snow.
And here? Here is scarlet. Red. Blood red. Bold. Standing out. Sometimes red is beautiful when it’s berries on a bush in the thick of winter, when so much of the world is grey. But sometimes? Sometimes red isn’t so great, especially when it’s alluding to the sin that can fill us and course through us like the blood in our veins. Sin destroys like a cancer. It invades. It takes over. But so does God’s grace. It just needs an invitation to come and take over and cover and make new. God’s forgiveness covers and redeems. It was bought with a price…red…the blood of Christ. Our redemption for our scarlet sins were purchased by the blood of Christ and His righteousness. His righteousness, white as snow. Our forgiveness, white as snow. Yes, white as snow is a beautiful picture of redemption.
So as Buddy and I are walking, we were pretty quiet, except for when I talked, of course. Hope asked us to take a selfie. Neither one of us are accomplished at that at all. In fact, I pretty much cut myself out of the selfie….so here’s Buddy.
She wanted us to send her a photo and texted hilarious laughter at our attempt. Anyway, we stopped for that…and then came upon this tree. I couldn’t resist sharing a funny story with him when I saw this next scene… and sorry, can’t resist now!
When the kids were little, we would sometimes have to drive on a road where there was a sewer plant, and some days, boy did it stink. So, on those days, the kids learned that there was such a thing as a sewer plant that stunk to the high heavens, but I obviously never did explain what a sewer plant actually was, because one day, I was asked a question. We were out of town and standing on a deck that was two stories high, and we were eye to high with a pine tree full of these beautiful pine cones. Well, I think the pine cones reminded this young 4 year old Josh of a stinky something, because his first question as he looked closely at these brown pine cones was, “Mommy, is that a sewer plant?” Needless to say, it was all I could do to not laugh out loud. But I so loved the connections this little guy was making. He was curious about his world and was listening when his mom said random stuff in the car about this or that. And at that point, this mom realized I did need to ensure that I gave further explanations to a lot of those random things I said during countless hours in the car. Anyway, Buddy heard that story for the first time. We’ve missed a lot of stories shared through the years, but am thankful there’s still time to share. Okay. On to the next little observation on our walk….
So this observation? It’s good to double-check… just saying! Of course life is full of mistakes, and faux pas (which I have spelled ‘fopaws’ in the past!), and errors and inaccuracies and miscalculations. But, it’s just good to have a team that looks out for each other and is willing to correct mistakes. Accountability and constructive criticism are good things because they can keep us from walking around making the same mistakes day after day, year after year, for the rest of our lives. Accountability says, “Oops…you spelled that wrong.” And humility says, “Oh, you’re right. Thank you!” Refusing correction because of pride, well…it can end up being pretty humbling, cause we’re walking around and our signs are saying Sheirff Allen Rd. when they should say Sheriff Allen. Yep, accountability, humility, learning from mistakes, they keep things right and good and fresh. It helps us to keep moving on to the next lesson instead of staying camped out in the same one we’ve refused to learn from time and time again.
Next little observation, that kind of continues the one before….fragile can be beautiful. This little tree was bending with the weight of the snow. It is bending, not breaking. Sometimes life can feel like that can’t it? We have a heavy load, and it bears down on us, and we bend. We tire. But we press on and bear the weight. And do you know what? I don’t know about trees…but I know that sometimes, weight bearing can make us stronger. When the weight is lifted, we realize how much we’ve been bearing and how we are stronger, and have somehow grown from the bearing of the weight. I love the verse that says,
“A bruised reed He will not break,
and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out.
He will bring justice to those who have been wronged.”
Sometimes we can feel like that bruised reed or like this little light of mine is just a flicker of a flame about to be snuffed out. I’m thankful that God knows our needs. He knows the weights we bear better than we do and He loves us through them. He bears our weights. Oh, and how awesome is it to have friends who come alongside and encourage and help bear the loads and fan the flames when we’re a bit spent. I am so thankful for the many precious people like that in my life. And I want to be one of those people as well. A fanner of the flame. A bearer of the load. A friend who sees the fragile areas and doesn’t condemn them..just comes along and strengthens them.
So, we walked and saw beautiful sights. The snow crunched under our feet with each step, but other than that, there were very few sounds other than an occasional gust of cold wind.
One more little observation from this walk in the snow. You see that mailbox? As I saw this scene, it looked a bit nostalgic…a picture of days gone by. I thought about how when I was younger, I’d love running to the mailbox to get the mail. Especially around birthdays. Receiving mail was a good thing. There was anticipation, but if nothing was there, there was a little twinge of disappointment. Well, it made me think of all of the many, many, many mailboxes that our kids these days have. They have facebook messages, twitter, email, instagram, phone, text, etc., and etc….and there’s anticipation for wanting someone to connect, to send a message. In days past, the trip to the mailbox was once per day. But now? Now, it’s constant and momentary…and days are filled with a surplus or vacuum of those “messages”. And I so feel for the kids who are just ‘waiting for the mail’…the next message that says I belong or I matter, or someone is thinking of me. I long for this generation to know that they matter, they are connected, they are thought of. But people fail. God doesn’t. On those days when the mailbox is empty, the loads are heavy, the wind is cold…would that we would know that God cares for us and calls us to draw near to Him. Our walks in life are all different, and the traces we leave are so unique, but the God who loves us calls us to a walk with Him. To a walk with purpose, beauty, and hope. We can go it on our own, but somehow, I think leaving our Creator behind would somehow be missing the beauty and the mission of it all.
So there you have it. A few random, scattered thoughts that occurred to me on my walk in the snow with my husband. Don’t worry…poor Buddy didn’t have to listen to all of my random ramblings as though captive on our little walk. I have learned through the years to limit sharing my little observations and only share some of my random thoughts and stories. And you? I hope I haven’t bored you. I just figure that this is voluntary and you’ve chosen to walk alongside for this little bit. Hope you’ve enjoyed the little talk from this little walk. I’m thankful for those of you who read ….that you say ‘yes’ when invited to share in the journey.