Thursday, January 24, 2008

fleeting thoughts about snow and grace

Last night I had a meeting with the students I'm taking to Romania in March, and I stopped in my office to check messages before and after the meeting. When I finally dragged myself out into the freezing tundra of Illinois weather, my car was covered in snow! I didn't even know it had been snowing!

So I got out my scraper/brush combo and started brushing the snow off of my windows and headlights. As I did, it fell ever-so-lightly back onto the ground, where an inch or two had already collected into little pillows of sparkly wonder. I couldn't help but think that the snow reminded me of some magical fairy dust.

Now I'm not a fan of winter in Illinois, and I particularly hate the cold. In fact, today I tentatively decided I'm moving to Fiji where it's warm. But I do love a pretty snow that collects on your eyelashes and brushes off of your car without layers of ice underneath needing to be scraped. I love watching through the windows as it falls under the streetlights with a navy blue backdrop. And I love how snow softly, gently reminds me of grace.

I know I've written about this before, but I think it is God's subtle reminder to me that maybe this is the reason I live in central Illinois--to see the snow and be reminded of His grace. I can't help but think about how one minute the ground can be wet, muddy, and filthy, and an hour later it can be covered in a beautiful layer of white that seems to wash it of all its impurities. But it doesn't stay that way...because any midwesterner with any common sense would know that soon cars, salt trucks, and human feet will trample the ground and dirty the soft white that was once so pure.

But that's the beauty of grace.

It's lavished on us when we're covered in filth and dirt and mud and muck. And like a good rain or snowfall, grace falls and covers over our filth. But then our human nature wins out, and once again our hearts are grimy with pride, selfishness, jealousy, bitterness, anger.

But have you noticed? In the winter, we're bound to get snow. And in all seasons, we're bound to get rain. Precipitation is inevitable. But I think grace is too.

God doesn't withhold it from us. He doesn't take it back. It's always there, just like the fact that it's always raining somewhere on the Earth. (Did you know that? I just learned it. Thanks, Google. I always appreciate the info you find for me.)

I just wish that grace was tangible like big snowflakes...that you could catch it on your tongue or it would get stuck on your eyelashes...that you could ball it up and throw it at people! How amazing would that kind of grace be?! I suppose God didn't intend for it to be tangible...or for it to be thrown at people.

Although I wasn't thinking about the beauty of grace last night when the snow was falling, I am always somehow reminded of it later. Last night I was caught up in my own bitterness because of the cold and anger because I accidentally brushed snow all over the driver's seat, so I had to drive home with a wet butt. But even in those moments, I somehow uncover just a split second of the beauty of it all.

So if just for a split second, the snow can remind me of God's grace, I'll take it.

And now I sort of hope it snows again tonight.


J&T said...

i am a transplant to the south, originally from michigan, so i certainly relate to the snow theme.

thanks for sharing. and for the beautiful mess piece as well. that is exactly how i describe to people the community that i am a part of (as in this brochure).

it's always good to hear stories of people 'becoming' beautiful again.

very cool. thanks again.


tmamone said...

Hmm, yes...I see what you mean. Very good! Thanks for sharing.

P.S> I mentioned your "Beautiful Mess" article on my blog.

Sienna said...

wow. this was beautiful. and so very true.