Lessons From An Unexpected Snowfall
It snowed here in central Texas a couple of days ago. It wasn't wimpy Texas snow, either. It was proper snow with snowdrifts that were high enough to cover my front steps. And it's intensely cold outside, so the snow is powdery and not going anywhere for the time being.
If you are one of my many friends who lives "up north," this probably seems amusing to you. "Awwww isn't that sweet," you're thinking. "Those Texans got some snow."
There's some truth in that sarcasm, though. The snow looks amazing, but we have no way of getting rid of it. I don't own a snow shovel so I can't really shovel my walk. I can sweep it, but shoveling is kind of out of the question.
Also, there will be no snowplows coming to my street to clear a path. I am not exactly sure if the city of Austin owns any. Some of my church members have been without power for 24 hours with the temperature outside continuing to drop.
Honestly, with all of the ridiculousness of the past couple of months, it feels like 2021 has begun with almost as much infamy as her predecessor.
Since the beginning of the pandemic and all of the shutdowns, almost a year ago, we have all had to learn to live with the unexpected. And we've had little precedent for most of the things we've faced, so we wouldn't have known how to prepare for it anyway.
I was reading a book by Alan Watt on living in the midst of uncertainty. He wrote about how most of us spend our lives resisting the unknown, fighting tooth and nail against change, and transformation. Then he said:
Living thus, we never really learn to live with it. At every moment we are cautious, hesitant, and on the defensive. And all to no avail, for life thrusts us into the unknown willy-nilly, and resistance is as futile and exasperating as trying to swim against a roaring torrent.
I don't know how we'll deal with the snow in the short term, but I do know that it will melt at some point, and probably within the week. Other than a non-functioning water heater, and a few other assorted repairs, we'll probably be okay in the end.
The lessons we learn in these moments are applicable in so many facets of our lives. There's more that we can't control in life than we can. And you could also argue that even the belief that there are things we can control is in itself an illusion.
But we can live in the moment. We can embrace the present as it is. I'm trying to live into this, as challenging as it is for me to do so.
It makes me recall the words of Jesus when he exhorted his followers to not spend so much time worrying about what tomorrow would bring because today is filled with its own trials and triumphs.
I don't know what curve balls life has thrown you lately, but I know that you'll find a way to swing through them. I don't know what challenges you are facing, but just know that you aren't facing them alone. None of us is.
Trust me, I need to listen to my own words just as much as anyone. So, may we work to embrace the moment, surrender our need for control of tomorrow and find peace. May we discover new reservoirs of courage and hope.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.