Monday, February 16, 2015

Snowmageddon 2015

I know I said I loved the snow, and I do.  However, today really put that love to the test.

Today, I knew we needed to go to the store, since there has only been a day between the last 4 blizzards, so stocking up is necessary.  However, I had heard that the windchill was going to make it feel like -25.  I pride myself on being a born and raised New Engander and I didn’t want my little one’s faces to literally freeze off (they are already windblown and eczema covered as it is.)  So, I checked and between 10-1pm it wasn’t supposed to be in the negatives.  I, then, checked that the store where we were headed was indeed open despite it being President’s Day.  It was opening in the next half hour.  Thus, I bundled them all up (with far less grace and love than I could have... but I did it) and we set off.  The cold was enough to make a grown man cry let alone a 2 and 4 year old.  So, by the time we were all “strapped in” things were already pretty emotional in the car.

These days in Massachusetts, there are only shades of white, grey, blue, brown mush.  There are no more lines on the road.  The medians are 15-20 foot walls of snow. Everything looks like a shell of whatever lay beneath before the storms.  But hardly anyone ventured out today so the driving was not too bad.

We reached Costco. (I use the name only to warn you it is closed... I still like and depend upon the store.)

And it was closed (as I already mentioned.)

Yup, no sign, no explanation just closed.  It totally baffled people; some drove by several times just to make sure their eyes did not deceive them, some were just waiting in their cars.  I felt brave enough to get out and look inside.  It looked abandoned, grates fastened shut, no one in sight. I retreated to my car and called the administrative line because I’m nosey and easily annoyed.  A very polite man informed me that it was closed due to snow...hmm...snow.  Mind you, it is not snowing today, and yet the sheer amount of snow still was causing some unseen problems that closed down a whole warehouse without warning.

My 4-year old son overheard the conversation and his response was, “Oh great,
now all the people need food and no one can get any.”  Ok maybe he is a little extreme (like me?) seeing the apocalypse in every closed grocery store.  Anyway not to be deterred we headed over to a smaller although still “Super” store.  I mean “the people” needed food and we were gonna get it!

The shelves and aisles were as expected, pretty empty.  I had to scrounge around for the potatoes I wanted and they were out of the bread we like best- not a huge deal.  Still, the kids became restless, I became dissatisfied and annoyed.  So finally and carefully I reassemble their hats, mittens, and coats. Then, I thoughtlessly push out into the parking lot.

Almost immediately, the cart tipped over.  I could feel it but my 9 month pregnant body just isn’t as agile or strong as usual (despite what my guided relaxation tapes may tell me.)  I was using my entire strength to make sure my son did not get trapped beneath this monstrosity, which was essentially in the middle of the road.  My daughter’s hat had flown off and she was hanging parallel to the pavement slowly slipping from the metal seat in front.  I thought about trying to reach out to grab her but the cart started to slide again.

Then, something great happened.  Strangers came to my rescue.  This was SO not a typical New England response.  I was shocked.  One grabbed my daughter, another pulled my son out of harms way and someone else helped me right the cart.  None of us spoke the same language, which on one hand I regretted because I wanted to thank them for saving me, but on the other hand was grateful for because I was afraid they would point out what a thoughtless move I had made.  However, their faces were so kind- windblown and frozen- but kind.

And so, now that we are all warm and recovered, I still love snow.  Maybe even a little more than before because it forces us to work together, to rely on each other.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Winter Storm Linus

I love seeing the snow accumulate through the night.  I know  it seems a little excessive lately.  But, I don’t mind waking up to the muffled scrape and rumble of plows.  It never fails to amaze me how the billions of flakes shape the dead sticks and stones into a marble masterpieces.

Lately, James’ favorite song for me to sing to him before bed in “Nothing but the Blood”  
The repeating question is gruesome, for an almost 4 year old; but it’s the question our heart asks each one of us:

“What can make me white as snow?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

And that is the gospel truth. Somewhere deep down I don’t want to admit it but I know I’m not okay.  I know that my mistakes, my sins, my hatred are heavy and deadly. If I got perfect payback it would kill me.  And so, I frantically search...

“What can make me okay again? What can turn the ugly parts in my life beautiful?” 

It’s what a famous theologian (whose name I should definitely know) calls “The Great Exchange.”  Jesus takes all my baggage and I am credited with his perfect life, all of his goodness.  My debt of death is paid.  

As the song says, we have been “white  as snow.” Fortunately, this is an eternal truth.  Here, snow doesn’t stay white for long, and we wouldn’t either.  

But God fills the craters of self hatred...forever.
His grace and power give a sheen and sparkle to the most drab and hopeless things about us.  

We are continually covered by his sacrifice and made into masterpieces.