28 Jan Be Thankful During the Storms!
Friends, how did you survive the Blizzard of 2016? In many ways it has been a fascinating week. It seems there’s nothing quite like 30 inches of snow to expose our true natures. I was traveling last week, originally scheduled to fly into Dulles Saturday night. Clearly, that wasn’t going to happen, and I was fortunate to get a flight home late Thursday evening. As you can imagine, the planes were packed. In addition, thirty people jammed the gate area hoping to be moved from “standby” to “ticketed.” Most of them were turned away disappointed. Fatigue was evident, nerves were frayed, tempers were short. I pitied the poor customer service representatives.
In the clean-up aftermath, it is much the same. Thankfully and beautifully there are people who are true neighbors: shoveling out those who are infirmed or elderly or just need an extra hand; pitching in to make digging out a team effort; enjoying the camaraderie of working with others to help others; and doing it all with a sense of fun and adventure. But, there are also many whose response is frustration and anger, and their ire is spewed on unsuspecting—and undeserving—victims. I’ve been wondering why that is.
I imagine there are many reasons: having our delusions of control burst, disappointment over something special missed, fatigue or illness, just to name a few. But, perhaps we also respond poorly in times like this because we’ve forgotten the importance of gratitude. I am grateful for road crews, police officers, and fire and rescue squads that worked around the clock in treacherous conditions to keep us as safe and mobile as possible. I’m grateful for hospital staff who slept at work in order to provide care for those most desperate for it. I’m grateful for a full ‘frig and pantry and for electricity that stayed on.
I am thankful for friends who called and texted to check on me. I’m thankful for technology that allowed us to prepare for what was coming. I’m grateful for “the unforced rhythms of grace,” to borrow author Eugene Peterson’s words from The Message. Time to be still is precious. Time to read and nap and connect with loved ones is a gift. Time to appreciate the calm, cold beauty of winter is a wonder. How can it be that every single one of the millions of snowflakes that fell is unique? To behold mystery is humbling.
So, as you nurse your sore back, and corral your “cabin-fevered” kids, and navigate parking lots made all the more crowded by mountains of snow, I invite you to say a word of thanks to someone. Gratitude is never out of season.
Yours for the Kingdom,