Snow brings Slow

Snowmeggedon. Snowpocalypse. The Great Blizzard of 2010. If you watched the news at all this last week, you probably have guessed everyone has frozen to death after being buried by mountains of snow near the nation’s capital. Well, that isn’t exactly true. What did happen was a lot of snow fell, and some people were inconvenienced, and other people were forced to slow down a bit. More board games have been played, movies have been watched, and junk food has been eaten this week than has happened in a long time around here. School in my county was closed for a week and a half, the government was closed for 4 days, and even our church was closed for 2 Sundays. Here are my thoughts after surviving this weather event.

First, I note that the reason life grinds to a halt when it snows this far south is because of infrastructure. This sort of thing does not happen often enough for people to truly be expecting it, or for the systems to be in place to handle it. I grew up in Michigan, and went to college in Minneapolis, so I am not a stranger to cold or snow. What is strange to me is the way that cold and snow impact life in Virginia. There are no parking rules to help the plow trucks like in Michigan and Minnesota, no de-ice mechanisms on the highways, and there seemed to be a shortage of snow shovels in the hardware stores. The panic is somewhat amusing, but I think I understand it. It is because this sort of thing does not happen here often. The systems for handling massive amounts of snow do not exist here, because most of the time they don’t need to exist. It is unexpected, and so it is a bit of a crisis.

This got me thinking about faith and the teenagers I work with. Many students live in such a way that there faith is always one crisis away from complete disaster. They have such a fragile grasp on their relationship with God that it would only take the right storm, the right set of temptations and circumstances to have their faith crumble. Could your relationship with God survive a blizzard? If the snowstorm of last week taught me anything, it was that survival is about preparation and attitude if it is about anything.

One of my close friends also grew up in Michigan, but has spent the last 7 years in Florida. During that time, he must have gotten “soft” when it came to winter. He moved to Virginia this year, and was caught off guard by the snow; he didn’t even own a shovel of any kind. I heard another friend that had to dig his car out of several feet of snow using a hotel’s garbage can. With the right preparation, the snow might slow you down but it won’t shut you down.

Attitude is the next most important thing. It was amazing to see neighbors coming together to help each other clear the snow from their blocks and free their cars from winter’s grip. I have had more quality conversations with my neighbors this week than we enjoyed in all of 2009. All of this took place while we were walking shovel after shovel of snow across the street trying to find our vehicles beneath. One neighbor brought out coffee to share. This ordeal brought people together that otherwise could not find the time to converse between rushing to work and rushing home. Maybe the same thing should be true if we were to find ourselves in a crisis of faith. Maybe friends and neighbors should come together, share the load, talk a bit, and figure it out together.