When I took a group of three confirmation students to camp for a very cold January weekend we still played broomball. Don’t ask how you really play a game of broomball with just four people in the bitter cold, but we did it. At that retreat it was so cold that when I put my ’76 Chevette in reverse, to back out of the driveway, my reverse broke.
I‘ve also acquainted myself with a variety of winter outdoor activities. I love down- hill skiing. I will cross country ski on a nice day. Heck, I’ll even go ice-skating. My neighbor has a rink in his back yard. So I don’t have a real excuse this year. Which reminds me that my very first true Minnesota sports loyalty was to the Minnesota Golden Gopher Hockey Team. I’d never really followed hockey much and had never heard of college hockey before Minnesota. I’ve gotten myself into some trouble living in both St. Cloud and Duluth by still rooting for the Gophers.
All this reminds me of how it is that sometimes when you embrace a challenge or an adversity, some things can come out of it; and if not good things then at least you see a part of yourself that you had not known before…That is always good.
A week ago today I went home about 2 o’clock. My day had started at 6 and I thought, “I’m going home to 'reflect' a little for my sermon.” It had snowed one of those “nuisance snows;” about 2 inches. That is just a little too much to shovel and a little too little to snow blow. I believe one of the marks of someone coping with winter in Minnesota is a clean drive way and walk. And so I fired up my snow blower and began plowing my snow. It went so very quickly that I decided to also do the corner walk and driveway of my neighbor to the south. After I finished that, I decided to do the walk and driveway of the neighbor to the east. It took a little over a half an hour, it wasn’t so cold and it feels good to sometimes do something anonymously.
On Saturday morning I had planned to take it really easy, my back hurt, by knee was really hurting but it had snowed what about 4-5 inches. I was lying in bed thinking about getting out of bed and into the cold when I heard a snow blower in my driveway. I looked out to see Mike, my neighbor to the west, in my driveway. He did the whole walk and driveway. When I went outside to say hi and thanks and warn him about the newspaper he said, “No problem.” with that look that told you he really didn’t mind. Mike is young enough that I think he still really likes blowing snow.
I suppose you could say that it’s just a matter of what “goes around comes around,” or “you get what you give,” or even how lucky I am to have Mike as a neighbor, but I’m trying to say a little something more than that. The cold and snow of these winters have within them the opportunity to bring out something warm and important. And it’s not just a kindness, but it is recognizing that there is no place, no time in which we do not have an opportunity to choose to do something or see something that reveals Christ among us.
Keep the Faith!