Monday, January 24, 2011
Snow and Ice
For the past couple of weeks, we have had snow. All the roads have been covered, the roofs covered in white, the driveways are slick and icy, and the trees wear a shimmering crown high up in the boughs. I love the way that snow changes the landscape, the way it glissens, and the way it changes my perspective. I love and appreciate seeing all the different seasons throughout the year. (Something that I never had when we lived in the desert). But, along with all the beautiful white stuff, comes the cold, the ice, the fog, and even more of that bone chilling, windy cold air. It has seemed to me like I just can not get warm enough this year. We have the fireplace, heaters, and blankets, but somehow, I am still cold.
One of the things that I have really had to learn with this winter season is that, if I can change my focus to something else, (and wear a sweater or a sweatshirt), I can forget about the cold and find the beauty in each day. I can forget about my longing for spring and color blooming everywhere, and instead appreciate the here and now.
I have learned that it is easy to get complacent in our own lives. We see the same things day in and day out. We have the same family living under our roof, the same child who listens and picks up, the same husband who fixes lunch (or maybe doesn't fix lunch), the same house to live in, clothes to wear, and food to eat. Sadly, the same old things cease to look like blessings in our eyes, and instead start being something we expect to have instead of a blessing to have.
Take the snow for example. When it is fresh and new, it looks magical. It makes everything around us look like a wonderland. I love to see the faces on my girls when we all go play in the snow together. It brings joy to my heart and to their eyes. What a blessing for us to spend time having fun together, instead of doing our normal, everyday, living together things. However, that same snowfall, also means that we have to make several trips to the woodpile each day, we have to shovel the driveway, and sometimes even walk to work because of the ice in the road. It can take away the magic that I found earlier in the morning if I do not keep my focus on the good instead of on the perceived bad that comes from snow. The snow has not changed, instead the way that I am looking at it has changed.
I have learned that blessings are a lot like snow. When they are new and fresh in our eyes, we see them and recognize the Lord's hand in them. We know He has answered our prayers to bring us to this point. But when the blessings become a common, everyday occurance, we start to forget the magic. The blessing is still there, but we are focusing our attention on the perceived negative, instead of being grateful for that which we really do have.
I have discovered that, for me, changing my heart to one of gratitude, profoundly affects the world around me. When I approach my life as something to be truly thankful for, I find more and more things that really are blessings in my life. I have found God's hand in the world around me in so many more ways than I ever thought possible.
So today, my challenge to you is to simply look around you. List the things in your heart and mind that you are grateful for. Write them in your journal, or even on a notebook page and hang them where you can see them often. When you start to doubt that you are blessed, go back and look at your list. In my life, I have found that some of my greatest trials are responsible for bringing me some of my richest blessings.
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow." ~Melodie Beattie