Tuesdays are for Thanks: Snow

Linking up today with Micha Boyett

I am a life-long resident of the north, and I still like snow. During the same time that seemingly everyone around me is pining for spring and swearing that they will move to a warmer climate by next year, I am basking in it.

I love many things about snow, and none of them are original. I like the way that the sunlight shimmers off of it, I love the way that it gets caught in my eyelashes. I love how it speckles my view as I visually take in my surroundings. I love how it crunches and squeaks underneath my feet.

In my second winter after moving from the west coast of Michigan to Milwaukee, I’ve become increasingly disappointed in the lack of snow that is seen on this side of the Lake. But now there’s snow on the ground.

Deciding to enjoy it, which as of late has been fleeting, I embark on a short walk to my favorite coffee shop (have I ever mentioned that I love the city?). I live on a residential street just off of the main drag through our neighborhood. Once I rounded the corner onto the more oft-traveled street, The roads were well-melted as salt, plows, and the warmth from moving cars has transformed the intricately woven lace that we call snowflakes, into an unholy intermediate state somewhere between water and snow.

Blocked from view by a building, but yet audible, I could hear a rumbling ahead of me. Before I could move out of the way, a bus, apparently trying to make up time from being off schedule, rushed past me, and in the meantime, sprayed the slush which was collecting at the side of the road, directly onto me.

At that moment, I declared to the universe that I hated winter, and snow. There was nothing beautiful or enjoyable about it.

Walking back home, I take a side street to ensure that I would not, again, get assaulted by slush-gone-awry. Just a block in my new direction and what I appreciate about snow and winter has returned in all of its glory, aside from my additional cold from being a bit wet.

Snow isn’t all good, that’s for sure, I thought to myself. But, in just a few minutes I have seen that it isn’t all bad, either.

Truly, it is much like anything else in the world. We need water to live, but too much of it can kill; we need heat for warmth, but too much of it can burn.

The world is full of this: good things which have a shadow side. This is what the world is like, as we all live east of Eden.

***

I return home, change into dry clothes, and make a pot of coffee to warm my frozen body from the inside out. I think about my call. My call has many struggles, but perhaps in all of these there is something wonderful about it.

There once was a field, and after the farmer had planted it, someone else came, who didn’t like the farmer and planted weeds in the field while the farmer slept. When the crop began to sprout, the farmhands saw that there were weeds growing up amidst the wheat in the entire field. The farmhands asked the farmer if they should remove the weeds. “Wait,” the farmer said, “let them grow together. If you pull out the weeds, you might pull out some wheat. We’ll separate them later.”

The common interpretation of this parable is that Jesus is talking about people, the righteous and the unrighteous in the world. But perhaps there is something else as well, that it is more broadly applicable. Maybe this is why bad things continue to exist, for in rooting out all that is bad, we also uproot what is good. It is possible that in our lives, some bad things still remain because there is good there that is anchored to it.

Working for justice can be tiring, and as both you and I know full well, we will never completely eliminate injustice. It can be easy to give up. Stop working for good and simply acquiesce to the way things are. But we continue working for good, in our lives, in our cities, in our world, all the while knowing that the bad will never be eliminated. Maybe some bad needs to remain, at least for now, because good is tied to it in some way that we cannot see or discern.

Perhaps I am like snow. I’m certainly not all good, I am full of failures, wrong turns, and unholy slushy messes. But perhaps I’m not all bad, either. And it is quite possible that this tension is a good thing and not something of which to be ashamed.

Today I’m thankful for the lessons that I have been taught by snow.

What, dear reader, are you thankful for?

2 thoughts on “Tuesdays are for Thanks: Snow

  1. Micha Boyett

    A decade ago I spent three years in Syracuse, NY and couldn’t get out of the snow fast enough: So many memories of cleaning off my car, letting my wet jeans (why did I never wear tall boots?) dry, the heater/defroster in my car that never worked, the brown sludge. But, man, when you describe the sweetness of the snowflakes on the eyelashes, the squeak of the boots in the fresh snow, I feel nostalgic about those days. Yes, the brokenness and the beauty live together most of the time. Good words, Matthew.

    Reply
    1. Matthew van Maastricht Post author

      Thanks for reading and for commenting! Snow (and cold weather generally) is either something to get into or leave because, as you so vividly described, it can be a major pain. Thanks also for sharing your memory of tension between the beauty and the messiness of life.

      Reply

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