Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Gift

Making Snow Angels

It came down in clumps, and it came quickly.  In minutes the ground was covered with a heavy dusting of snow.  No longer could you see the ground's brown, matted hair or skeletal trees looming over, begging for spring to return their color of life in multiple shades of green.

Now, everything glistened in a monochromatic hue of white.  Just the day before, my children ran around the yard barefoot.  "Only in the south," I laughed, as I watched them pull on their clunky boots.

Before the interruption, we were busy with our usual weekend activities.  Although I try desperately to limit the constant motion of our family, even the tedious acts of housekeeping and chores keep us buzzing around, before we shuttle off  to various lessons or activities.   With whirlwinds always circling, I dream of boredom; yearning for her presence in our home.  

The snow fell and, despite its rapid descent, seemed to carry the redemption of time on the tiny shards of its crystals.  I stared, and it took a few minutes for my eyes to rest and absorb the millions of snowflakes falling to the ground.  The scene unfolded slowly as the gift of time was handed to me.  In the south, we are not prepared for the cold breath of  Mother Nature.  Everything shuts down; school, businesses, restaurants.  We are forced to stay home, and I am relieved.  My kids screamed with excitement, but I stood there, in front of the window and watched.  God's hand in a white glove had just reached down and stopped the world.

The cold weather doesn't usually lure us from the comforts and warmth of our home.  But, the snow?  She calls for us and we instantly stir.  Despite their unconditioned, thin layer of skin, my children run to greet her without their coats.  I am jealous, because they obey, the first time, when she whispers,"Come.  Let's play."

Standing in the window and watching life unfold in the Hand with the white glove, I am reminded that life should move a bit slower.  "Every day should be a snow day," I sigh.  My wonder-filled children stick out their tongues, and with tightly closed eyes and outstretched bare arms, catch the tiny snowflakes in their mouths.

Unlike everything else that moves impetuously, the swirl of the snow brings tranquility.  The snowballs soar in slow motion and the snow angels appear to have taken flight as more snow falls and covers their impressions.  In the stillness, the only sound I hear is voices of delight.  I study the subjects framed by my window and try to embed in my memory every detail of their little overjoyed faces.  I feel incredibly grateful for this seemingly slow passage of time.  My children, who look advanced in age with their white crowns of glory, now tap on my window and entice me to come play with their friend, Snow.

  I stood there a few minutes longer and wondered why we wait for a snowfall to be still; why we need an excuse.  Lately, I have spent too much time at my desk doing research.  Electronics are the stealthiest time thieves.  It is no surprise to me, that I feel cheated of my time and in a constant spin.  Why must it snow for me to slow down?  I questioned the rapid pace of our lives and wondered, if  Oscar Wilde's anti-mimesis of "life imitates art far more than art imitates life" exists in our digital world as "life imitates technology..."  We race. We spin.  We rush.  We hurry.  We find it difficult, if not impossible, to rest. 

My deep thoughts carry me further away from the present.  I ponder the race.  Technological improvements center around celerity; and thus, I find such great irony.  The more that technology is able to do for man, and as quick as it is able to work, shouldn't we be liberated to live simpler with time to invite boredom into our home?  Instead, we function, similarly to the devices which capture much of our devotion.  Our non-computer brains cannot keep up with the pace of technology that man invented; yet our eyes dart tirelessly trying.  We find it difficult to be still.  In our imitative instinct, we move rapidly, unknowingly, unnaturally like the quick, shifting scenes on our television screens, laptops and devices.  We are busy, because it is familiar to us.  It is what we have come to know in this fast evolution of technology; the digital world.

I have pondered long enough, and with a deep sigh, decide to bury my thoughts of the cyber world and live in the tangible world before me.  With a time pass in my hand, the snow, the beauty, and the laughter of my children lure me.  The feeling that there is no where we have to be is exhilarating. 

It is eight o'clock in the evening.  My children remind me that Snow's visit with us will be short. She can't tolerate the south's fickle weather.  I climb in the attic and pull out the ski bibs, gloves, hats and scarves, which I had been certain, we wouldn't need until next year.  I step outside into the darkness and note the highest contrast possible: the white snow against the black sky.  Again, I choke with gratitude, but I have to catch myself from the consumption of my deep thoughts.  It is time to live.  It is time to feel the snow and the chill of the winter night; it is time to play.  My children with their cold-tipped noses run to me and nestle in my arms, seeking the warmth still clinging to me from inside.  I inhale the wintry night, and with a pretend cigarette in my hand, exhale a cloud of smoke.  My children laugh.  Nothing gives me more joy than God's gift of their laughter.

Rob finds his monster flashlight, and in the dark, with garbage can lids and one old sled, we walk the half-mile to the school.  It is unusually quiet.  And still.  Rob shines his light from the top of the hill and my son, of course, pretending that his trashcan lid is the Titanic, takes the maiden voyage.  Tomorrow, with what patches of snow remain, the hill will be bustling with children; including my own.  But tonight, the night is ours.  The fresh snow is ours.  And time is on our side.

Walking home late at night and pulling my exhausted, youngest child on the old sled, my deep thoughts return.  I thank God for the gift of this night.  I am filled with joy from watching my children, with their large imaginations, dream and play, and on this night, without the boundaries of time.  Again, I am grateful. Without a doubt, nothing, in the digital world can ever replace the gift of relationships. Nothing can replace the wonderful feelings and senses God has given man;  the ability to taste and see and smell; to hear and to feel; but mostly, the ability to love.     

Does life imitate technology?  Maybe at times, it does.  I am grateful for the perspective I found from a lovely winter snowfall.  In His love, God reminded me to join my family in this beautiful gift called, 'life.' 

Jesus said, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. ~ Mark 4:39
 Be still, and know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. ~Exodus 14:14
Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong. ~Job 6:24
 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. ~Psalm 37:7
White hair is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness. ~Proverbs:16:31 
I hope you are able to slow down and enjoy the blessings that life has to offer! 
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dmw212 said...

Just beautiful! The sc upstate saw only! Glad your family could enjoy the event!

Anonymous said...

Christie: You have such a gift of words...I so enjoy reading your posts...thank you for taking the time out to share God's Word in such a beautiful way! I miss you when you are not there...Marti

steph said...

thanks for sharing your post and scriptures! Good read!

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