Friday, February 12, 2010

Inside the Snowglobe

This week I’ve been feeling like one of those little plastic figurines trapped in a snow globe. Last Saturday’s snowstorm brought twenty inches of snow and we received eight more on Wednesday. Before you say it, yes, I know it’s winter. And yes, I do expect it to snow in the winter, but this was just too much too fast. As I sit here looking out my window, there is a slight flurry of snow falling again and I want to cry out, “I am not an Eskimo!” Everywhere I look, there are three to six foot mounds of snow. The roads are passable, but not altogether safe and the grocery store ran out of milk and bread days ago. The few hours of sun we’ve seen this week has sufficiently melted enough snow to leave huge dripping icicles hanging dangerously over doorways and windows and there’s water leaking from almost every door and window frame in the building leaving streaks of dirty water stains and puddles on the floor. Most of all, I’m tired of shoveling snow and brushing off my car every time I go out.

I asked God to show me the good in this and he answered by bringing to mind my relatives who live east of the city. It’s then that I realized how selfish I was being. When Saturday’s storm hit, my cousin was trapped in her house without heat or electricity for eighteen hours. When she was finally able to leave, she could only make it to her parent’s nearby home. They had no electricity either, but at least they had a fireplace. They were in the dark and the cold for several days. Why didn’t they come north to stay with family who had electricity and heat? Because the roads between them and us were closed due to unplowed streets and fallen trees. Tens of thousands of people were trapped without electricity and heat for four to five days. I've seen reports of people whose roofs are caving in from the weight of the snow and one about a woman who was trapped in her home by a fallen tree blocking her doors. Then I started to think about the homeless people in this city who don’t have a place to wait out the winter storms. They don’t have food or money to buy milk even if the grocery stores had it. I thought about the people in Haiti who are still wondering if they will ever find their father, mother, brother, and sister in one of the makeshift hospitals and camps or buried in the rubble of the city.

By the standards of the community I live in, I am relatively poor. I live month to month. I have no savings. I don’t own a house, my TV is more than 15 years old, my car is nine years old, and I have an old hand-me-down laptop that may crash at any moment. In spite of all this, I know I am truly blessed because I have a warm, safe place I call home, my bills are paid, I have a job to go to everyday that I love and a boss that is more concerned with my well-being than my productivity. I have food in my cupboards and clothes in my closet. I have books to read and the ability to read them. I have a car that runs to take me where I want to go and money for gas to get there. I have friends to share my life with and family who love me and support me in bad times. I am healthy and able to give of my time and talents wherever God leads me. This isn’t me trying to be optimistic – this is me be grateful for all the blessings God has given me – even for the blessing of the snowstorm because without it, I would have missed this opportunity to appreciate God’s generosity. Sometimes it takes seeing what other people don’t have to realize just how much you do have. Take some time to thank God today for the blessings in your life and look for ways to share them with those around you.
About the pictures:
Ross Township (February 12, 2010)

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