I watched him in his completely ridiculous over-sized red coat, pushing the heavy machine the length of drive. The snow was being propelled a good fifteen feet up and out. Maybe more. I was wielding a far more primitive tool and I now paused and leaned against the shovel. The snow was probably a good eight inches deep in most places and a lot deeper where drifts or plows had passed by. It’s been a hard winter. Well, at least that’s what we’ve all been saying for the last month but I think what we really mean to say is “It’s been winter”.
Truly, the temperatures have been abominable, even for Iowa. And we’ve also had consistent snow fall, which, because of the blistering cold, hasn’t melted. Between the threat of immediate frostbite and the constant presence of fresh snow our routines have suffered a severe assault. I pondered this standing there watching him move the snow- the ramifications of creating lifestyles that are so insulated against the natural world that we scarcely consider it’s rhythms anymore. I started to see how our quest for control has pushed us to eliminate the unknowns in our daily equation. Industry and technology have given us so much dominion over life.
But for the weather.
For all of our ability, or supposed ability, to predict and insulate ourselves, we still can’t control the weather. This “hard winter” has forced us to stop. To take heed. To adjust. Standing there this morning, it was the humbling realization that my will is not the only will at work and there are forces that hold far more sway in my day than my meager expectations. In that moment I was quite proud of myself for noticing. But the pride couldn’t stay long. Because a much less poetic version of this revelation unfolded after I came inside.
I have minions. Four little free-will agents with keen minds and energy to match. Nothing I tried to do today worked well. The oldest was in an exhaustion funk, the girl is two (enough said) and a fresh wave of hormones was assailing my self-control. Then when I gave up all noble efforts I found the internet had crashed taking much of my snow-day back-up plan with it. Now it’s just a tired mom, four cranky kids and no Netflix or Facebook to medicate the pain. Oh poor me… No! Not poor me. Rich me. Happy me,
But only if my happiness is not in mastering my circumstances.
Because you can’t always control the snow, the children or even your body. At best you can put some habits in place to help manage the onslaught but life is still an onslaught. And this is my daily battle. Do I want to limit my life to one where I control all the factors or… do I want to learn how to be content and at peace in a life so big it includes wills that regularly contradict my own? Truly, there is only One who’s will is ultimately done anyway. Only One who has any lasting control. The God of the weather, and of children… and of me. And when my circumstances afford me neither peace nor pleasantry His sovereignty still can. If I will let it.
Besides, all this snow really is beautiful.