A Change of Plans

Snow Storm Coming

I had already run around in short sleeves.

I had already let my daughter frolic outside in flip-flops with butterflies on them.

I had already pulled out the spring clothes and encouraged my children to splash in puddles of warm melted snow. 

The weather report said a huge snow storm was coming, but I refused to believe it.   They said 7 inches.  They said even the University would shut down for the morning. 

Snow on the Winterberry

I look out the kitchen window, and it’s here, right on my winterberry bush.  We have no choice but to stay inside.

The girls build elaborate block castles–not out of boredom, but of opportunity

It’s not every day that you’re snowed in.  I learn that the oldest has built a “Cloister Portal,” and the little one has made her own “Observation Tower.”

I take pictures of the structures.  I’m fascinated by the designs.  A Cloister Portal represents a beautiful concept.  A cloister refers to a place of seclusion, for spiritual purposes, and a portal refers to the grand entrance into this location. 

As I sit secluded indoors (not even making it to the skating rink), I remember this:  When nothing in my life looks like it’s supposed to, and when my world doesn’t follow the expected course, perhaps I’m to think of this time as my own God-given cloister portal, my own observation tower.  From up here, the seclusion teaches me how a beautiful winter storm (when it’s nearly Spring) actually blesses.

It’s a portal–my grand entrance–into the life God has for me.  

I snuggle into the rocking chair and realize it’s not too bad to be snowed in.  There’s beauty in this cozy room, too.  There’s opportunity here. I look down, and I realize that Jack has stretched a paw out in my direction as he sleeps by the heater.  I love that little paw. 

Jack’s Paw While it Snows Outside

Living with flair means I walk through that cloister portal when God wants me to.  

Journal:  How can I learn to see opportunity instead of delay or disaster? 


Not Even for a Second

I’m driving home from a depressing budget meeting where I learn that the English Department can no longer afford to keep many of its most wonderful instructors.  Courses might be cut, faculty might lose work, and entire departments could be reconfigured.  Times are tough, and my teaching future seems uncertain.

I’m moving along the road at exactly 2 mph because a blizzard swells about us.  With little visibility and no traction, I follow the line of cars for a 30 minute commute that should take 4 minutes.  Finally, the traffic breaks as I turn right onto a main road.  More traveled, this road seems clear and open.  I accelerate ahead, my mind replaying the budget meeting.

Suddenly I’m swerving and sliding in my lane.  You just can’t lose focus and drive in a blizzard, no matter how clear the roads appear.  My mind snaps back to the present moment like I’ve changed channels on a television.  And the picture in view astounds me:  a winter wonderland stretches out for miles, pure white, with fluffy flakes like miniature coconut cupcakes falling all around.

I continue on, and I force my mind’s full attention on the road before me.  I can’t let it wander–not even for a second–in these driving conditions.

Besides, it’s beautiful out here.

A danger threatens when I’m dwelling on that past meeting or fretting about a future that’s not even here.  I keep my hands on the wheel, look straight ahead, and marvel at the freshly fallen snow.

It’s the only way I’ll get home safely. 

Journal:  How do I let my worries about the future rob me of joy?