As I write, I offer thanks for my warm robe and our humming furnace. Like my neighbors near and far, I woke to another onslaught of wind and snow this morning. My poor husband allowed himself a single cup of coffee before tackling the driveway for the umpteenth time this winter. My only contribution to this effort was to send him out with a kiss and a smile. Though I had hoped to be at least minimally helpful to Mike by this time, my doctor informed me otherwise at yesterday’s post-op check-up. Though I am progressing extremely well after shoulder surgery, he reiterated that the rotator cuff he repaired was both completely torn and separated and that healing in my case will take longer as a result. He ordered me not to abandon my sling when away from home and to protect my shoulder from bumps and bruises at all costs. I admit that this news disheartened me. The brazen flakes which continue to assault my window pane and my poor husband outdoors are not helpful. Though I normally find solace in nature, this snowfall has added to my discouragement.
Before returning my thoughts to this writing, I turned my eyes upward to remind the Lord God of the realities which have accompanied the remarkable weather of Winter 2014. I began my prayer with an apology for pointing out the negative ramifications of fifty-plus inches of snow as I know blessings have been known to accompany such onslaughts. Still, I continued my prayer with the disconcerting images that flooded my thoughts. The several inches of snow that continue to fall took our schools by surprise this morning. Cold children, frantic parents and stressed bus drivers travelled with extreme caution. Though some of us have the luxury of working from home in such situations, the snow forced many others to brave the weather because their jobs, their poverty or other circumstances demanded this effort. As the snow continued, so did my prayer. “It hasn’t been above freezing for days, Lord, and shelters everywhere are full. You know that the food pantries have scheduled hours. Some people won’t be able to get there in this weather…” I prayed on and on before returning to the scriptures and this writing. Though today’s snowfall failed to inspire me, God’s word has not.
I missed the significance of a passage from Sirach (Sirach 15:15-20) when I first read it. This time, however, it has captivated me. Through my prayer, when I turned my thoughts to others and asked God to do the same, I opened myself up to inspiration. I found that Sirach’s words reflect my own understanding of this life quite well. Sirach writes that if we trust in God, we shall live. He goes on to say that we are free to choose the course of our lives and that we will be given the lives which we choose. Sirach is convinced that God pays attention to each of us and that God understands our every deed and our every need.
Truly, I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not believe that God is aware of my circumstances. Though I often groan heavenward for Divine Intervention, I never doubt God’s awareness or God’s concern. I simply feel the need to echo God’s awareness and concern at times. It was when I had my own children that I realized the reason Divine Intervention does not always take the form I hope for. Just as my husband and I did not give our sons everything they wanted, we did our best to give them everything they needed. In God’s case, that “best” is always and precisely well placed.
As Winter 2014 continues, I realize that it is up to me to make the most if it. It is also up to me to assist those God has given me to love to do the same -whether they present themselves as my own family members or as God’s extended family. Finally, in whatever I face, I must turn to our loving God who understands each of our needs more than we understand them ourselves.
Though God doesn’t plow our driveways for us, God watches as we help one another to get the job done. Though God doesn’t melt the snowdrifts that block the walk, God watches the sun warm us as we shovel our way to freedom. God doesn’t get groceries for that homebound couple nearby, but God knows the thoughtful neighbors who deliver just what they need. This God of ours has blessed each of us with the freedom to choose. And, as Sirach writes, when we choose to do good, we attract even more goodness. When we choose to show concern, we receive the concern of others while we inspire one another to live more selflessly. When we welcome God into our sorrow and our worry, our joy and our celebration, we realize God’s presence in our lives. You and I will survive Winter 2014 and everything else we encounter along the way because God is with us in it all.
©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved