I’ve been dreaming of summer. Here in my homeplace, Wisconsin—land of the ice bowl and sturgeon fishing and fried cheese appetizers—we plod through our long, hard winter months with gritted teeth and hearty souls, knowing God needs soldiers in the frozen places, too. So we endure. We yearn at last for a first peek of spring, a blade of grass, a robin pecking worms from the still frosty ground.
That should be happening by now. Mid-April. I’d say we’ve paid our dues.
Last weekend, God brought us a blizzard.
Snow accumulations topped the standing record from 1904. Yesterday, after two days of sticky flakes stacking higher and higher on our lawn, my children were granted a snow day off school—an occasion we expect and even celebrate perhaps in January but not now, not this week, this track season phase of the school year in which we should be riding bikes and breaking out the sidewalk chalk, not flapping arms like angels in the snow.
I mean really, can’t we catch a break?
Will spring ever come?
Are we meant to be chilled and oppressed forever?
What is the deal, Lord???
You know what I miss most about warmer weather? People thaw out. They leave their houses and chat with their neighbors and take babies for walks in the stroller. Together our town comes alive and we actually interact with other humans, all of us liberated and basking for a brief and beautiful season.
We experience fellowship.
“May God, who gives you this endurance and encouragement, allow you to live in harmony with each other by following the example of Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5, GW)
On Sunday I watched through the window as my husband shoveled pile upon pile of snow from the driveway. Bundled in his insulated hunting gear, nose to the ground, he heaved that shovel over his shoulder and into the drifts, collecting more snow on his hat as it just kept coming down.
And he wasn’t the only one. Neighbors came out of hiding, running snow blowers in their own yards—two, three, four times in a day just to keep up with the blast.
And then. Voices, rising outside the house. I looked again through the window, and there was my husband on the edge of the driveway, chatting with a neighbor who’d come to help. Together they stood in solidarity, griped about the weather, and I watched as our neighbor cut his blower across the deepest part of our drifts—a blessing to my weary man.
Moments later, another neighbor, this one buried in more snow than we, walked over to greet my husband and explain he’d been working all day and was now facing a mound of snowfall nearly to his knees. So my husband and daughters, now finished with our own driveway, trod next door to help clear enough space for the neighbor’s truck to park. I listened to their laughter, conversation, community.
If I had closed my eyes at that moment and imagined the sun, I could’ve guessed it was… summer.
Yes, I’m tired of this snow. I’m fed up with winter. I wish for a patch of green lawn and a short-sleeve shirt with no jacket.
But in the depth of our darkness this past weekend, God shone a light. Small generosities. Neighbors connecting. People recognizing their common needs and banding together to meet them.
Had we not seen the snow, we might not have seen the blessing.
When my girls came inside from their shoveling adventure next door, my older daughter gave me the update. “Mom, we’re going to help Mr. Matt shovel the rest tomorrow.”
“That’s great, sweetheart. I’m sure he will appreciate that very much.”
“Yeah,” she said. “It feels good to do an act of kindness!”
Yes. Indeed it does.
Sometimes what seems like a curse may turn into a blessing. Like a sheep in wolf’s clothing, it strips down to unveil a gentle moment or an encouraging word. And I’m learning. Even April blizzards bring joy, if we open our hearts and look around.
So let’s keep looking for ways to bless and be blessed, my friends, amen? No matter what season we find ourselves in.
With generous love,
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