Archive for February, 2014


When my cousin Rob was struck by lightning, he woke up under his own dining room table and lay there for a few minutes trying to decide if he was dead. He has never First Snowbeen a big believer in his own soul, so the thought that he might be dead and yet somehow still under the table cogitating caused him some concern.

Eventually he decided that dead would probably hurt less, and he crawled out, discovering in the process that while he was alive, all of his electronics were not. He never even found all of his cell phone. What he said later was, “Grandaddy was right.”

Our grandfather lived much of his life in fear of all things meteorological, plus snakes and moving water. In summer, he would squint at the horizon and say, “It looks like it’s going to come a thunderstorm.” In winter, he did the same squint and said “Feels like snow.” My mother grew up seriously afraid of storms and used to spend them in the (enclosed) staircase of our house, while my sister and I watched from the windows. She counted that as one of her greatest achievements—she didn’t pass on her fear.

And yet there is a genetics that goes deeper than experience, and that is why I am not a fan of snow. Where I grew up, snow was not your white, fluffy friend. Out in the country, people stayed put, or if they had to drive, they did so slowly, with chains, and even then sometimes spent the night in their cars when things went bad on Max Creek Hill or Lowman Hill. Nobody went joyriding in the snow because if you slid off the road somewhere, it might take days to dig you out, and in the meantime, who was going to take care of the cows?
So even now, I have a “Who is going to take care of the cows?” mentality. My Beloved has to get to work no matter what, because hospitals do not close due to weather conditions. Our friend the letter carrier will carry mail, and our friend the state police officer will patrol. I just can’t do the happy dance when it snows.

But there’s this: My Beloved was able to get home on Thursday evening before 81 shut down. By that time, the roads weren’t too bad, thanks to people who, metaphorically, take care of the cows. Our whole street came out to shovel yesterday; it was a party, albeit a little short on canapés and booze. Watching the dog trying to find a place to poop cracks me up. It’s the little things that matter, when the world slows down for snow.

This morning, I finished another quilt top and had bacon for breakfast for the second day in a row. The guys are downstairs watching basketball, and there might be music later. I have yet to be struck by lightning, and Rob does not pick up radio stations with his teeth, so perhaps the world is not as scary as I’m genetically programmed to believe it is.

But it will be okay with me if this is the last snow of the season . . .


God’s Favorite

Heart Block

Once again, Steve Wiens of The Actual Pastor has hit the metaphorical nail on its literal head.  Go on and read him here. Then carry on.

Now. Let’s think about love for a moment, can we? This is February, the month when you can’t walk through Walgreens without a zillion red cardboard hearts leering at you from every shelf. These are supposed to make you think of love.

“Here babe. For all the wonderful things you are, and the great stuff you do for me, I will give you this box of cheap chocolate and a dozen roses that were $9.99 at Wal-Mart. It’s the thought that counts, and I’m thinking all this should buy me some ‘alone time’ with you, if you get my drift.”

If Wal-mart and Walgreens and other things starting in “wal” are any indication, we believe in love of the cardboard heart variety.

But what about the real kind? What does real love look like?

Steve offers one example—a sandwich.  I can think of other things.

On Tuesday night, we went to a church in Fairlawn to pay our respects to our friend Mike’s mother, Janet Rodgers, and her precious family. The place was jammed. Everyone had a story. Everyone had a memory. We didn’t know her, but we left feeling as though we had. Her whole life was a legacy of love, and a lot of it was the practical, hands-on kind. Our other friend, Liz, commented on Facebook, “After [Mike] spoke, I reflected on how Janet made everyone feel like her favorite. Just like Jesus! You are Jesus’ favorite. And so am I.”

What an amazing legacy! I want to be Mike’s mom when I grow up. (This is looking doubtful at the moment because of the whole flamethrower thing, but it’s good to have goals.) Is there anything more awesome to say about someone than “She made everyone feel like her favorite?”  God is like that.

God is way bigger than human systems and ideologies and understandings. God cannot be defined by debates or diminished by demagogues (even the ones who claim that they have God’s words in their mouths).

God doesn’t mess around with the cheap stuff and the self-serving motives because, well, God doesn’t need much. Instead, God offers people God’s self, and says “You are my favorite.”

In this month of crazy cardboard love, let’s do something radically different. Every single day, let’s do one wild, generous, fun, loving thing for someone who crosses our path, because they are God’s favorite, and they may not know. Besides, I’m God’s favorite, too, and so are you.

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