Today we have the first sign of snow in Western New York as we start our December. It made me recall an article I wrote for BustedHalo® many moons ago.
I remember building a snowman in my backyard with my older sister when I was about 5 years old. It was there that snow became the great equalizer. While she piled together the bottom third of our snowman, I took the opportunity to plot my big moment of revenge for all the times I was too little to be noticed.
I packed together a small mound of snow in my tiny five-year-old fingers and slowly approached the victim prowler-like, slowly and deliberately. With her back turned away, in the perfect kneeling position, she was now exactly my height—and busily packing the snow. I quickly arrived at the glorious summit of Mt. Kathy and (WHOMPF) smushed the snowball right in her face, a direct hit! A blow for the munchkins! I screamed a five-year-old high-pitched squeal as the snow dripped down her glasses onto her cheeks. Even the defeated older sister seemed proud of her little brother, as she smiled at my delight. Of course, that didn’t stop her from pummeling the crap out of me in the moments that followed. Regardless, it was my finest childhood hour.
Now as an adult, snow is more of a pain. I hate cleaning off my car (we don’t have a garage) in the winter months. And I thank God that out neighborhood has a snow removal service. While it’s been a rumor that Buffalo gets a lot of snow, I didn’t find it to be horrible in my rookie year. We’ll see what the second year holds for us.
But mostly, I think snow is God’s reminder to us to slow down and more importantly to not take ourselves too seriously. We need to frolic once in awhile and I know I need to simply take a day off and curl up with a nice warm puppy once in awhile.
Snow too, leads us to engage more with God and community:
… snow is a prayerful moment. It’s a time when we open our homes for folks to come in out of the cold and share in the fires of our love. Everything stops, dies in a sense, to a newness of white, a purity of design, where the small are no greater than the tall, when the child in all of us revels in a mother’s love. The snow allows neighbors to meet, pitching in to dig out each other’s cars. It is God’s reminder to us that as the world grows, we all need to put on a new self, quiet our hearts, and provide each other with warmth when the harsh cold chaps our skin, dampens our spirit, or slows us down.
So let us pray today for snow…or if you can’t bring yourself to pray for that, then pray for the time we need to just be still, to watch the whiteness fall from the sky and to praise God for the simple moments of a winter’s peace.