Thursday, December 18, 2008

Re-Gifted Winter Weather Advisory

As friends sit by cozy fires watching snow gather on their window sills —even in southern Texas! — I sit in my cozy chair listening to a whirring fan overhead, remembering past blessings of unexpected snow. The memories bring perspective and contribute well to my quiet celebration.

One such memory took me back to my apartment in Cincinnati, where, on January 21, 2007, I received the gift of a winter weather advisory advising of snow that actually came! I'll re-gift my journal entry here. . . .

I awoke this morning to receive from God a very special gift: a winter weather advisory advising of snow that actually came! Four inches worth—give or take a flake.

Excited to celebrate this first snowfall in my usual way, I quickly tucked my toes deep into my slippers and hurried out to the balcony. My head tipped back, and my hands stretched up as I closed my eyes to let the wintry sweetness scatter across my face. Each flake softly awakened a nerve ending somewhere between the tips of my eyelashes and the small dimple bringing together the two halves of my otherwise ordinary chin. I was in heaven . . . and still in my pajamas!

What is it about freshly fallen snow that calls to the kid buried in the heart of nearly every one of us? There must be something. The park next door brimmed with childlike wonder from young and old alike. Families engaged in snowball fights. Older couples walked arm in arm, slowly taking in the sights. Laughter erupted from the hillside as sleds tipped and dads slipped.

While making my way around the park’s path, each step accompanied by the satisfying crunch of icy goodness under my feet, I became aware of a strange sensation. A smile had escaped the intensity of my grown up thoughts. My heartbeat slowed, and a stillness infused my wandering spirit to its very depths.

So, this is what it’s like to be in the moment. I haven’t been here in a long time, and it may be a while before I pass this way again. My memory begins to awaken. I scan the untouched canvas of white spread before me, looking for the perfect spot to leave my signature mark. It’s a mark I’ve made at least once in nearly every year of my life at the first sight of freshly fallen snow. A mark that serves as indelible proof that I was there and did not let God’s gift slip by unnoticed.

Rising from the frosted earth, an old oak tree stood poised to protect well the patch of white beneath it. With the infectious sounds of winter play drawing out the child in me, I carefully stepped from the path to position myself under the branches of that old oak. Inhibitions vanished and laughter burst from the now unguarded center of my spirit as I let myself fall back into the powdery softness behind me.
There I lay, flat on my back, flailing about in the snow like a little kid. Unashamed and lost in the moment, I celebrated the goodness of God, thanking him for his wintry gift.

After several minutes of this satisfying, childlike worship, I scrambled to my feet. In my spot on the canvas of white remained the imprint of a snow angel. Proof that I was there and had not let God’s gift slip by.

Before heading for home, I paused for one more breath.

While the snow presented to me a wonderful gift, the greater gift became evident as I stepped outside myself to worship God without encumbrances. My brain uncluttered and my heart unfettered, he freed my spirit to soar without the boundaries of my adult-sized frame.

Whatever it is about freshly fallen snow that brings me to that place, I want more.

More snow. More stillness. More laughter.

More opportunities to step outside the intensity of my grown up thoughts, so I can experience more God. I’m on the lookout. How about you?