Denver is a curious place. Here, the saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” It’s winter in Denver: earlier this week, it was sunny and sixty outside. I went hiking. The next day, it was snowing. I like to think there’s a magician who lives up in the mountains, practicing his weather control. He gets away with it, you see, because people attribute the weather to the mountain range messing with air currents. I digress.
A few days ago, I was sitting quietly in the morning watching the snow fall–fat, white, conglomerate flakes drifting down from thin clouds. I’ve been feeling lately that I’m in a sort of winter. I’m in a quiet time of my life, waiting for the seeds I’ve planted to take root, watching the world exist and move around me. But me, I’m here–waiting like a solitary, bare tree in a field. From what I can see, very little seems to be happening to move me forward into the next active phase. And I’m not sure I want to move there.
The interesting thing about the winter, though, is its stillness. It’s in the winter that snow falls, accumulates. This snow builds up a store of water which nourishes the world for the rest of the year to come. In the west, most of our water supply comes from snow melt. In years with a dry winter, the west goes into a drought–again.
Winter is beautiful. It is rest, quiet. I don’t have to do so many things. Because of the cold, I am drawn inside to the intimacy of fellowship with God and with other people. Each snow flake is a unique raindrop of His mercy, frozen in a delicate shape just for fun, packaged in ice for the long haul. They fall in the coldness of grief, or pain, or weariness. Yet there is a shelter from the cold: Christ, and houses with heaters and cozy blankets. And even while God is sheltering me, He’s building up a snow pack within my heart: truths learned in the quietness, moments of simply resting in Him and enjoying His presence. Long conversations with good friends. Standing by the window watching the snow fall, allowing myself to watch the world with the eyes He gave me. God is a fantastic multi-tasker.
I saw all this in the flakes falling outside my window: individual miracles, and so many thousands of them. My toothbrush. Light particles. Fingernails. When I go brush off my car, I’m scooping blankets of mercy onto the ground.
Thank you, Lord, for your mercy snows. For stillness, and for my toothbrush.