And sometimes, God’s mercy and grace comes disguised as a blizzard.  The first real dumping of snow is often my single favorite day of the year.  I saw God everywhere last Saturday.  In a snowstorm of that magnitude, we cannot go on believing that we are in control- it becomes crystal clear that God is beyond our control.  Immediately, people begin doing the right thing.  We stay in our pajamas all day long.  We light candles, play games and cook food with the people we love.  It feels like a womb, where we can heal, put ourselves back together and re-focus on what is important.  Everything gets cancelled because that is the right thing to do.  We ask, “Do I really need to go buy that one thing, or can it wait?  Can’t we get by on what we have here and now?”  We cuddle and laugh and take naps.

Eventually, we emerge from the womb, rested and strong enough to wager with the elements, yet we continue to do the right thing.  We do not need to look fashionable, we just need to be warm.  We stay close to home.  Neighbors share jumper cables and shovels.  We push each others’ cars and snow blow for the widow around the corner.  And, in the middle of a blizzard, we find we are laughing, meeting that neighbor we see but never talk to.  We are sweating, getting exercise and fresh air, and the endorphins lift our spirits as the winter sun begins to peek out.  We drive slowly, are patient and kind with each other because we have to be.  Nothing is more important than our safety.  Any small outing becomes a wild adventure of scaling snow drifts and small stepping ice patches.  And hot chocolate thaws our formerly hardened, busy and stressed hearts.

We all say we want to live slower.  We all want to be patient with each other.  We all want to be totally present with our families.  We want to get more fresh air and exercise.  We want to know our neighbors.  We want the faith of children.  But sometimes we need God’s help to remember that doing the right thing also just feels really, really good.  And there it is, God’s love and mercy gently falling to earth, to dwell among us, masked as snowflakes.