By Ken Sloane
It doesn’t take much to put Nashville (Tennessee) residents into a snow panic. Schools close at the prospect of temperatures moving into the teens. Grocery stores are emptied at the hint of snow, before the first snowflake even materializes. Folks in the northern states makes jokes about us. (I think my New Jersey friends wait on the edge of their seats for the prospect of making fun of what a “snow-weenie” I have become.)
What moved across the south beginning Valentines Day weekend was the real deal. The crucial factor wasn’t the amount of snow. What did us in was the one-two punch of snow and extended freezing rain. And with temperatures down in the single digits at night and even below zero, few of us were leaving our homes. Bridget and I locked ourselves in on Sunday; and while I braved my way into work on Wednesday, she didn’t set foot outside until Thursday. Ash Wednesday came and went, with most churches canceling services for fear of congregants slipping on steps and sidewalks or getting into car wrecks trying to make their way to church.
As I write this, the prediction has been for more snow coming our way. It may or may not come, but you know everyone is running for the milk, bread, and eggs! What is it about snow that makes everyone crave French toast?
So what’s the blessing of living through an ice storm in Nashville, or the progressive drop of 48 inches of snow in New England? Well, I think it changes our perspective on the world around us.
I’m not talking in the “global climate change” sense, though certainly it is crucial that we give that some attention. (If I had a dollar for every persons who has said, “What’s all this talk about global warming, it’s d#@% cold!” I could treat those people to a class about what global climate change really means!)
It changes my perspective on the things that are too easy to take for granted, the blessings God pours down upon me every day: a furnace that keeps away the cold, lights that come on when I flip the switch, electricity that flows out of outlets, and water that comes out of a faucet in it’s preferred liquid state. And I can’t forget a well-stocked pantry and freezer (hot chocolate and slice-and-bake cookies). Let’s add to that list: neighbors who check in on you, work colleagues who put your safety ahead of the number of hours you clock, and yes, friends in New Jersey and New England who take a break from the teasing to say, “Hey, you guys are having a tough time in Nashville.” Blessing upon blessing.
So if you have come through a tough winter where you are, maybe you want to ask yourself the question as well: "Are there blessings these winter storms have helped me see more clearly?" And if so, do we chalk it up to global climate change or to the nudge from the God who is the source of each and every blessing?