It snows and snows here in Guys Mills, and to say I am enthralled is an understatement. When snow is falling, I find it difficult to do my work efficiently because I end up staring out the window half the time. I’ve always loved snow, and now after living in a land of perpetual summer for four years, I find myself super-sensitized to its stunning beauty.
Moonlight on a million diamonds.
A walk in the stillness of snowy forest—stillness punctuated by the song of a chickadee.
Scarlet on snow.
Snow on scarlet.
The flash of a cardinal’s feathers against snow-clad branches.
Snow on the still-vibrant sumac clusters.
Snow caked inside an abandoned bird’s nest.
Snow on the ghosts of goldenrod from last fall.
On Saturday my mentoring group met to share our life stories. As we talked, a fresh layer of snow was falling. Falling on the wreck of an abandoned house next door. Falling on the barren patches of earth. It covered grime and ugliness with its sparkling purity, just like God’s redemption in our stories. Snow on scarlet.
I wrote this some time ago, but it came to my mind yesterday as I wrote my life story. Writing our life stories is one of the things we get to do as part of the mentoring program here at Faith Builders. After spending the day trying to pull together a cohesive story out of a messy jumble, I needed this reminder to keep it all in perspective:
One night recently I had one of those fitful dreams where I am half awake and I feel like I have all kinds of complicated problems to work out. But the problems are confusing and elusive, and I keep thinking (in my half-awake stupor), “If only I could fall asleep and forget about all this stuff until morning!” Anyway, I awoke from this dream in the morning, and as I rose to greet the day, I sort of chuckled to myself at the way all those “problems” dissolved into thin air at the call of the alarm clock. They were all meaningless when I was called to reality. Then it hit me: this is what heaven will be like—a glorious reality after life’s restless dream. When I awake someday in heaven, life’s difficulties will be just like the tumult in my dream: meaningless, dissolved, gone.
“You’re lucky to have a place to go home to,” she said. She doesn’t have much of one, you see. “Yes, I know,” I said.
But I wouldn’t call it lucky. Blessed is a better word. Very blessed.
I had a lovely week at home between the end of winter term and the beginning of spring semester. This was only my third time at home since I left for Faith Builders in August, so it still feels a little strange. Strange that I can go home and spend only a little over five hours en route. Strange that I can enjoy hanging out with my family instead of being whipped with jet lag for the first few evenings. Strange that I can say goodbye for only weeks or months rather than a year or more.
I find it amusing how much I enjoy cooking when I go home. I never thought I would miss cooking. But it seems the more I study and become involved in intellectual matters, the more I am drawn to simple, earthy things like kneading bread dough with my hands, peeling potatoes, or cooking a big pot of soup.
Yes, it’s wonderful to have a place to go home to. It’s wonderful to have deep roots.
And what can I say about how much I appreciate my home church? Though I feel somewhat disconnected from only hopping in and out of it for the last four and a half years, there’s still a kinship there. What a blessing it is to come home to a church that is alive and growing, where people care about the kingdom of God! The funny thing is that I still remember people mostly the way they were more than four years ago, so sometimes it seems surreal. Some of the little third graders I taught are now in the youth group. Is it a sign of old age that I find it hard to wrap my mind around this fact?
And now, it’s wonderful to be back here at Faith Builders. The shrieks, laughter, and animated conversation emanating from this building bear witness to the joy of reunion. Spring semester is on its way.