Like the rest of the Mid-Atlantic states, Pittsburgh was pelted with voluminous amounts of snow this past weekend. It began Friday afternoon, just as predicted. But the accuracy ended there, as snow continued to accumulate until many areas had between 22-24 inches blanketing their worlds.
I am not a snow-hater. Generally I’m of the mindset that snowstorms are God’s way of helping us take much needed breaks. So I curled up with a good book Friday night and was prepared to enjoy the stillness.
Suddenly the lights flickered, strange blue lights flashed outside my front window, something popped, and my heart did a few quick flip-flops. Seconds later, the scenario repeated itself like an unrequested encore, and I found myself in the dark, like the rest of the neighborhood. The dark, and subsequent very cold temperatures, would last until Monday afternoon. We managed to make do with flashlights, loads of blankets, layers of clothing (strange, for my t-shirt wearing husband), and our trusty wood stove. The afternoons warmed up enough to warrant hours of shoveling ourselves out, the roads were cleared enough to run a few errands, and our cell phones kept us in touch with the outside world. Once we figured out we still had hot water (Sunday evening), I even resumed a bit of dish-washing routine. By time Monday morning rolled around though, I was ready for it all to be over. We had enough wood to last just another day, if we were careful. I was concerned about our neighbor who had still not emerged from her house (and whose husband is an invalid). I had work to do. I longed for something to eat that did not come out of a can or plastic (I’ve gotten quite spoiled on my own cooking-from-scratch lately).
Strangely though, one thought kept echoing in my mind: Can I receive this as a gift? Snow – yes, that one’s easy – cozy and picturesque and my introverted self just loves an excuse to hibernate. But utter darkness and cold? Really, God – you aren’t serious? Can’t I just muddle my way through and make the best of it, and be glad when it’s done and over with?
Honestly, I’m not sure how well I did. I’ve had a lot on my mind and felt the need to just stop and listen this weekend. And yet when I was afforded the opportunity, I think I kind of ran the other direction. Yet just the idea of God offering me a gift of time and space was sustaining, and when all was said and done last night, lights restored and body warmed, I was able to sit down and finally process some of the internal stuff.
So that’s the bread I’m carrying with me into this week (a day late but the “oven” was offline) – a reminder of God’s good gifts that show up when we least expect them.
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