From my front porch I see the grass shine with each blade covered in ice. The entire landscape is covered in brilliant, shiny ice; the trees glow, icicles hang in intricate patterns from benches, branches, and house awnings. There’s nothing left untouched by the mixture of rain and freezing temperatures.
The world glistens.
For the last few weeks this scene has been my reality (and the reality for many across the United States). It’s been one snow day after another; one ice day after another; one below-freezing day after another. As a mother with young kids this has meant many days spent indoors and many days with school cancelled. The ice has altered plans and brought the unexpected. Yet, I have found a bit of beauty in these icy days. I’ve found that if I shift my perspective slightly, I tend to notice the goodness within the days.
Here are a few of the ways I’ve been noticing God thanks to the unexpected ice days.
Nothing is left untouched when the ice and snow fall. As I look outside I marvel at a blade of grass and the intricacies of its creation. I observe trees withstanding the cold and heavy ice and rejoice in the God who cares so much for the created world. I hear the chatter of birds and listen for the voice of God. This earth and this world were created in goodness by a creator who designed the smallest ants and the grandest mountains. If I take time to notice those blades of frozen grass in my yard I notice the whole of God’s creation in my midst, beautiful and calling to be nurtured.
“Tea hot,” both children cheer over and over. It’s become their ritual, their special treat on these cold days when my husband makes each kid their own steamed milk. We sit at the table in the kitchen with our hot drinks. The toddler tips his head back drinking from his mug and leaves traces of foam on his lips and nose. Both kids push their mugs together: “Cheers!” We have nowhere else to be other than with one another. While we drink our hot tea I say a silent prayer for these children and this family. For the chance to share a drink and see it as our own bread and wine, God’s goodness and grace before us.
Noticing my Soul
Along with the snow, ice, and cold, the world stands gray and dreary. It’s been so long since the sun shone that everytime we see a glint of the light my children yell: “Sun out, blue sky!” Yet when the sun isn’t shining and the world literally feels dark, I’m invited deeper into my soul to find light and peace. The daily news and fear for the future, along with the darkness of the days, does not bode well for my spirit. Without the sun shining I tend to be more fearful. But I know it’s precisely in those moments that the light yearns to be found. The dark winter days and nights call me to sit and be silent. They call me to keep looking for the light that shines from within. They invite me to listen for God’s voice telling me to not be afraid.
What better time to care for our neighbors than when the elements of nature wreak havoc on our days? In the weeks of tumultuous weather I’ve noticed friends caring for friends, strangers opening their homes to those who need shelter, churches offering food, and neighbors joining together to provide food, warmth, and shelter to those living in poverty. Noticing community has meant phone calls to others stuck in their homes, hand-written notes, and baked cookies given to neighbors.
There is much to notice even on the darkest and coldest days. If only I open my eyes. If only I see the beauty in interruptions and the unplanned.
Whether it’s cold and icy where you live or the sun is shining, go out and notice your world. See God’s creation. Look for neighbors helping neighbors. Marvel at the richness God has given us.
Notice and give thanks.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website: http://kimberlyknowlezeller.com or follow her work on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyKnowleZeller/