Posted tagged ‘snow day’

The Illusion of Being In Control

May 21, 2019

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                      May 21, 2019

                           

It’s May 21 In Colorado Springs and we woke up to a foot of snow on the ground. It started in the early evening, but surely it would spew for a while and then cease! 

It hasn’t! School closures on May 21 for snow storms aren’t the norm around here, but my back is mumbling something to me this morning that may be a mixture of pain and profanity.

Carol and I were out in the backyard at 6 AM shaking slumping tree branches that look weighed down by the misery of it all. 

The longer I live the more I realize how much of life I’m not in control of. Late May snow storms are beyond me, as are sudden sicknesses, achy knees, and 7th Grade algebra. I suppose I could take algebra off that list if I studied it long enough…maybe not! But all the hand sanitizer, Vitamin C, and hand washing does not make me immune to a virus that comes on like gangbusters.

My friend, Ron McKinney, was looking forward to his daughter returning home yesterday from her first year at a Boston area college, but at the last moment Frontier Airlines changed her flight from Monday to Wednesday. Isn’t it interesting how we can plan something like a trip, vacation, or major purchase and a business, an institution, or the unpredictability of nature scratches out all of our ideas and itineraries?

Being in control is an allusion that we live by. That’s not to say that it’s futile for people to plan and prepare, but rather to not be surprised by the wrinkle in the schedule.

Athletes train and prepare to compete with excellence, but a blown-out knee can happen to the best of the best. 

I’ve had friends who have lived a healthy lifestyle and suddenly been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer that seems to answer to no one.

I’ve had people in the congregations where I served as pastor- faithful people, people of prayer and spiritual disciplines, who have an intimate relationship with Jesus- suddenly encounter life tragedies that shake them to their cores.

I’ve seen investments in stocks that seemed sound suddenly go off the deep end because the main products of a company became obsolete. Think Eastman Kodak! Or the arrival of Amazon speeding the departure of Sears!

A foot of snow on May 21st! And the forecast of temperatures in the 70’s for the coming weekend! 

What I can trust in is the God I serve always being faithful, always loving, and always merciful. As I plowed through the snow this morning with hesitation and white knuckles, I was reminded of my Father God who navigates the way of life for me if I trust in him…if I allow him to be the one who is in control. 

Psalm 23 is probably the most familiar scripture selection in the Old Testament. It’s also a psalm of surrender and recognition. It tells of the Father who is like a shepherd, the one who leads, protects, and provides. The reoccurring theme, however, is that he is our Father God who is in control. 

What can a person do on May 21st when a foot of snow greets him as his garage door opens? Grab a shovel, get the Biofreeze ointment ready, and live with what is!

Unplanned Open Day

January 23, 2019

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     January 23, 2019

                             

Yesterday schools, the public libraries, military bases, and other spots that are usually open…weren’t! The Colorado Springs area got blasted with a blizzard during the night and into Tuesday. The wind gusts scooted the swing across the deck behind our house. The cover on our hot tub was blown open (and I can’t wait to see what our next utility bill will be)! Roads were closed as snow drifts were shaped and created.

It was a planned day that suddenly became unplanned. Snow days have that effect. What hadn’t become a possibility pushes all the plans out of the way as it goes from the back row to the front and only seat!

There is something refreshing about a planned day that suddenly becomes open and free, unless you’re one of those drivers who gets stuck on the side of the road when the temperature is 4 degrees. There is something freeing about realizing that there is nothing you can do the whole day. You are homebound, away from the classroom or office, whether you want to be or not…and you breathe in a deep sense of peace!

Our lives are consumed by schedules and tasks. When I pastored I would make a list at the beginning of each week that would be filled with all the jobs to complete, the people to visit, and the meetings to attend. It covered a page, two columns wide, top to bottom. I’d cross off completed tasks, but each week the page would get filled back up. 

To be told that it’s okay to chill for a day, to be unproductive, to sit back in the recliner and read a James Patterson novel…it brings a smile to our face. We come face-to-face with the fragile nature of our plans and the harsh truth that we aren’t always the ones who can be in control.

Yesterday I worked on a jigsaw puzzle, read for a couple of hours, took a long nap, and wrote the first few hundred words in a new story I’m writing. In sharing what I did I must say that I didn’t seek to do them so I could have a sense of accomplishment. Each of them happened in the midst of my relaxed outlook.

It was as if I received sabbath rest on a Tuesday. There is a hint of God’s intentions in it, a calmness in the midst of the blizzard. It reinforces my belief that some of life’s biggest surprises come in the unplanned moments.

The Revelations of Snow

February 5, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                               February 5, 2016

                                

The eighteen inches of snow that we received this week was beautiful in many ways. Our back deck looks like a winter wonderland. Pike’s Peak is a living postcard!

The snow has also revealed many things..revelations, if you will, of some things we knew already, and some things that are fascinating.

Here’ one! A Jaguar gets just as stuck in eighteen inches of snow as a Ford Taurus. $600 a month car payments do not mean squat to a street with a foot and a half of snow on it. There is not a “premium lane” on our street. Snow is the great equalizer, unless you’re one of those big pick-up trucks.

Here’s another revelation! The first day when school is canceled there is great jubilation amongst students and teachers. Day Two is still greeted with cheering. Snow gear and apparel sits waiting by the door. But by Day Three of school cancellations parents are pulling their hair out, students are lounging on the couch in a semi-comatose state, and teachers are now thinking “We’ll be going to school in July!” When I left our high school gym last night after our basketball games and we were greeted by more snow falling the reaction of parents and students was “NO!”

The most revealing thing about our snow week, however, has been the diminishing value of the U.S. Postal Service. We received mail on Monday, but the mail carrier has not been by since…and today is Friday. What have we missed? The Wednesday advertising paper that has the supermarket weekly specials in it, probably a couple of envelopes from Chase Bank trying to get us to sign up for a new credit card, the weekly AARP ad, and perhaps the utility bill. I’m assuming that the mail might get delivered today, but the snowstorm has shown us that mail delivery is no longer a necessity six days a week. Maybe three!

I’m not moaning here. Our street hasn’t been plowed yet. Eighteen inches of snow have been mashed down to resemble the Iditarod. My nephew in Baltimore couldn’t get his dog to go outside to relieve himself when the East Coast got blasted a couple of weeks ago. I guess our mail carrier looked down our street with similar fear and trembling.

The best revelation from this week was seeing neighbors working together to clear sidewalks and snowplowing driveways. Our neighbor on the corner brought his snowblower all the way up the sidewalk to the house next for to us. Eric, the husband who lives there, is deployed right now. Our corner neighbor was looking out for his family. This morning two other men and I helped push a lady out of a slippery mesh at the corner. A couple of four-wheel drive trucks whizzed by us like we were the underprivileged, but the three of us helped her get out of an unfortunate situation. That’s the best thing about massive amounts of snow. In the midst of no mail delivery and snow cancellations we get the opportunity to experience community.