Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Joy Breaks Through

Last night, I was up to my eyeballs in making dinner and loading the dishwasher when God broke through with a moment of joy. We have had a long couple of weeks. With bills in a careful balance and stress from two mortgages, it seems I am always plowing through the day in an effort to pick up missed stitches and keep us as organized as I can. I can miss a lot with my head down that way... but last night, rinsing a bowl, to add to the the dishwasher already-too-full, I happened to glance out the window.

It was amazing. It is only October and normally we still have our shorts on hand for days that run really warm. But, this year is different already. On Sunday, a storm blew in and a sunny day in the 50s turned quickly into a precursor to winter. The cold stuck. We tried to leave the heat off but by Monday morning, the coolness in the house got the best of us and we nudged our furnace back to life. And then, standing over a steamy sink, I noticed it right before my eyes.

Snow. Lots and lots of snow. It was, truth be told, a mid-December snow falling heavily in our backyard. Flakes as big as snowballs wafting down on a gentle breeze. The darkness of nightfall made the whole thing more gorgeous as the white of the flakes struck a contrast against the navy sky above. It was beautiful and called to be noticed and I stood still, in the kitchen right then, as the beauty and the bounty of it calmed my worried soul.

I know for some that seeing snow fall like that in the midst of an autumn storm would be as unwelcome a thing as weeds in your garden or hair in your soup. But not for me. I love the seasons... the natural rhythm that God sustains and maintains and brings to us in wonder... it is comforting to me and helps me feel a balance to my life that would be lost in a climate without such change. So, there was nothing in me that worried about an early snow or dreaded the shoveling that will come all too soon. My only thought was that it was so... beautiful.

Three of my kids were busy in the house, Benjamin working on a school assignment and Josiah reading a book to Elizabeth. I suddenly realized that they were missing it! I quickly called and they ran to the sliding glass door with shrieks of joy. Grabbing coats, they ran out the door to revel in the short lived snow (and I ran for my camera to catch the moment and share it with you).

Isn't it amazing what joy we can find in watching a child in the snow? The "oh-so-grown-up" thoughts about cold and frustration fall right away when your children are jumping up and down so enthusiastically that you can actually catch a picture of two of them, neither touching the ground!

Suddenly, the dishes didn't matter and I was not at all focused on bills or worries or even fatigue. All that mattered, for that five minutes, was the laughter of my children and the snow on the ground.

It only snowed for a while and none of it stuck at all. With the wind blowing and the kids soaked from the beautiful, heavy flakes, all came inside to warm up and wonder at the gift of it all. Benjamin asked if I would make hot chocolate and I let go of the worry that it might spoil their appetite for dinner. Instead, I pulled the snowman mugs from the back of the cabinet and made three cups of cocoa for my red-cheeked babies.

Tomorrow, they won't remember what we had for dinner last night. They will not be able to recall that the laundry was almost done or that the house was clean. But, they will remember running to play in an unexpected snow and they will remember the warmth of a mug in their cold hands. It didn't take all night and it cost us nothing at all.

Last night, I was up to my eyeballs in too many things, when God broke through with a moment of joy. I got to share that moment with my children and we stored up in our hearts a memory that we easily could have missed. It was just a moment of grace, a time of beauty... but what could be more important that that?

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