With snow in the forecast for much of Central and Eastern North Carolina today, this is a timely reflection from Wellness Advocate, Lisa MacKenzie.
Last week I visited my daughter, her husband, and my 5-month-old granddaughter in Pennsylvania. It was bitterly cold and snowy, and I realized that I had been missing the crisp mid-winter chill and crunchy snow and the hush that comes with January storms in the northeast.
Looking out the kitchen window one morning, holding baby Guin, I watched cardinals in the front hedge against the pure white of fresh snow and thought about the 2 months of winter ahead and the storms that would inevitably come along with the disruption and inconvenience of slippery roads, school closings and frozen pipes. But in all the chaos of storms comes the blessing of solitude and stillness. I thought that morning that I had been given this gift of space and solitude many times but often didn’t acknowledge the gift—maybe it was the warmth and cuddliness of a baby and the smell of wood smoke along with the softness of the gentle light at dawn that became prayer in the quiet kitchen. That morning I didn’t miss the gift.
I read a recent post about snow days on a blog called the Busted Halo by Christina Gebel. She writes:
What I realized, or perhaps simply remembered, is that snow is a reminder to take pause, with others or even just with ourselves. The presence of snow can be a great spiritual exercise for us, inviting us to quiet down and be with ourselves.
If you want to accept the invitation to pause and go deeper, you might consider a few of these suggestions:
• Read a good book. Though it might sound cliché, how often have you “been meaning to” read something but never gotten around to it? Maybe there’s a spiritual read you’ve been meaning to pick up. Try starting the book on a snow day and then reading five pages each night as part of your nightly prayer.
• Have fun. There is no rule that only kids can have fun in the snow. When was the last time you went sledding? Went for a walk in the woods during winter? Went ice-skating? Built a snowman? A snow day is the time.
• Take a good look at snow. Snow is symbolic of so much of the spiritual beauty in our lives. Why do you think God made snow the way it is? Would it convey the same feelings if it were a different color? Different texture? Each snowflake is unique, reflecting the diversity of God’s creation. It’s made of water, which can be both soothing and powerful, reflecting the humility and omnipotence of God. Take a glove-full of fresh snow and meditate on the beauty and paradox of God’s creation.
• Be still. Be quiet. Snow has the ability to quiet a city, but it can also quiet our inner self. Go outside and stand in front of a winterscape. Or stay inside and feel the warmth and the absence of sounds outdoors. Repeat, to yourself, the line from the popular hymn, “For You, O Lord, my soul in stillness waits.”
So now I am home in Apex and it seems to me it’s time for a snow day… maybe you think so too.
Image by Flickr user rkramer62 via Creative Commons