It snowed a little last night. That is, when we woke up this morning, on April 13, the ground was white, and there were little skiffs of snow on the street, and the temperature floated around 23 degrees.
“It snowed a little.” That’s like saying I bit my tongue – a little – or I got into a little car accident, or I woke up with a “little” stomach flu. There are some things in this world to which “a little” doesn’t quite fit, because the only acceptable, comfortable level is “none.”
Now, it didn’t snow the last week of March. March is kind of still winter, sort of, and “some” snow might be not beyond the possibility. However, we have been dancing and skipping into April up here in the Northland, going out in the morning without even a jacket, since it was up to 40 degrees already by sunrise. We cleaned out the winter muck of the gardens, and pruned the bushes, and drank our coffee while we enjoyed the first blooms of Spring, with the forsythia turning yellow – and always amazed that a plant that grew so well in Nashville would also thrive up here. Except – I wonder how it’s feeling when, instead of having the nice inch and a half of rain like we had about four days ago, the plant now stands yellow against white, and no promise that it will get above 32 degrees today, and maybe not tomorrow.
It snowed a little – that means I had to put on a fleece jacket to wear with my flip-flops as I took Cheri to work. I even had to start the car and let it warm up a bit. You see, these are all “winter” activities, not spring frolicking stuff. We ordered, after five years, some replacement bamboo blinds for the gazebo, since we vacuumed it all out and brought the overstuffed cushions back out for the summer. When the blinds arrive today, I guess we will have to wait until probably Friday or Saturday to put them up, since there is no heat in the little place, and it’ll take a while to hang all seven blinds on all the windows.
Ok, Randy – remember what you always say: it’s not what happens to you that matters; it’s what you do with what happens to you that makes all the difference. That’s right – the way we intentionally approach any and all circumstances in life determines the depth of its impact on us and the way through a problem to a new solution. So, let’s turn our grumbling this morning around a little bit, what do you say?
“It snowed a little last night” – however… I don’t have to shovel the walk, it’s not below zero, it’s good moisture for the yard, it’s viewed through closed windows from a nicely warm office, and it is short-lived. That means we are not drifting back down the hole, or being dragged back down by a sharp-clawed winter monster. We just have a little snow, and not one single thing in our world up here will change today because it snowed a little. Cheri still went to work, the internet is still functional, nobody in the house has a “little” stomach flu, and even though I bit my tongue last night for some reason, it’s pretty well healed up this morning, which to me is always a miracle.
And today, I will write my column, do another lesson in learning Italian, check my bank accounts, read a book, maybe take a nap, and by Thursday, all will be brown/green again. I still get to be retired, so no driving for hours to attend meetings, and try to solve arguments. And Thursday is the middle of April – the middle of April, not the early part of February, and that promises more than a “little snow.”
I am amazed, however, at how little it takes to chew at the corners of one’s positive approach to life. After all these months, I guess contrary to what we think, we are not very resilient. The hits of CoVid, and the artificial habits we have had to assume, from face masks to having to wash our hands after going to the store, to even NOT going out to eat at a nice restaurant because, well, it’s probably not “safe” – all these things scratch and dig at the corners of our minds, and help to grow a larger, more negative view of our world and our lives.
The way out of that, again, is to intentionally just shove all that into the proper perspective. It’s going to get better – the snow will melt again, and life is more than just this moment in time. Life is a video – not a snapshot. My brother wrote us last night that his daughter, my niece, and her husband are going to have a baby. I guess I truly am a “great” uncle. We are far more than what happens to us. At the end of the day, we are children of God, most cherished of all creation. Knowing that, I can’t – and I must not – let a little snow ruin my day. After all, this is what God has made. My best gift in return is to rejoice, and be glad in it. I hope you will be able to do the same, no matter what kind of snow fell last night. Blessings.
Word for the day: groggy. Pronounced GRAH-gee (of course). The word has no ancient meaning, but it does have an interesting origin. Back in the British naval years of the 1700s, there was a Admiral Vernon. Out on the seas, he wore a coat made of “grogram,” a blend of silk and wool that helped keep the wind and the (and possibly a little snow) out. The sailors on his ship, as most sailors do, gave him the nickname of “Old Grog,” due to his coat.
Well, one of the things you were promised as a sailor was a daily ration of rum. The food was often bland, and the water would become putrid, and even the beer would not keep. So, they established a “daily tot” – about ½ pint of run per day that they would serve with lime juice, as a way to avoid scurvy (or so they thought). The British navy actually served that each day until July of 1970. A full cup of rum led to a bit of drunkenness by the men, to Admiral Vernon decreed that the rum on his ship be cut with water. That drink became known as “grog” after “Old Grog.” What they didn’t know was that instead of diluting the rum, the water actually helped the rum be absorbed more quickly into the system, giving someone a faster “drunk” as a result. The feeling after drinking the “grog” was to be “groggy,” which, to be weak or unsteady on one’s feet on the ship wasn’t so good.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.