With snow covering trees, after a mid-winter storm, I’m reminded of the value of everything slowing down. It’s too icy to drive much. That means that appointments were cancelled and rearranged; driving was for minimal needs; and conversations became longer and richer in the quiet of the day. It’s hard for me to slow down, even as one who aspires to live a more contemplative life. Each time I linger a bit more, savor the warm coffee, enjoy birds celebrating freshly fallen snow, I’m not disappointed in the beauty and richness of life. Even when circumstances bear witness to more sadness than joy, the slowing down opens up spaces in my heart to be grateful. But it’s still hard.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I make every effort to listen to the voice of God, whether in nature, scripture, prayer, relationships. While I set up my day to do so, I have to admit it is in the slowing down that I’m able to hear best. The simplest of expressions become an avenue to recognize that God is moving in and through our world. I can be grateful for the kind word, the welcoming hand, the warm fire, and that’s when I remember God is always beckoning me into an embrace. God offers me God’s presence. In the slowing, I hear the invitation.
When much is required of me, I can too easily become preoccupied with the inessentials. Demands take precedence over preferences. Especially in the midst of parenthood when children need attention, or work responsibilities that have a deadline, or a friend in desperation, these are the places where I find myself speeding up to carry out what is necessary for the day. Then I remember the snow days, the ones where the rhythm changes, and I have an opportunity in the transition to listen. It may mean my day still requires much of me. But in the slowing, I can remember, become aware of God’s presence. In fact, at times I think I can even see God smile as the birds gather seed, children laugh in the snow, and dogs run with leaps and barks. This is why I love snow days.
Part of my gratitude includes my new responsibilities as the Executive Director of Selah. With the board’s support, I see the way ahead with joy-filled anticipation. You’ll see upcoming communication about ways in which we hope to continue being a community of pausing, listening, and responding. May God continue to move in and through our community and into new places where others may know the value of seeing God in the unexpected and playful places.
Mary, thanks for the “snow day” reflection now as we approach another snow. The beauty and the pause of snow does produce pause in our ordinary tasks. When I go back to the “ordinary” it brings an appreciation of those things usually not noticed! And I really love snow.