Winter has always done something to me. I suppose it might be because of the chill in the air, the darkness that sets in around 5:30, or the gray skies that almost always replace my fantasy of a winter wonderland of crunchy snow and icicles. There is no particular reason why this should make me withdraw into myself, into TV shows, books, or even my bed. And I don’t know why I’m always tempted to neglect sleep in the winter, but all of this sets the stage for some mighty good thinking. That’s what I do, almost all of the time, and I find that it’s in the everyday moments when I realize profound truths. This must be from God. There is no other fountain of Truth, I suppose. So today, with help from my enthusiastic brother who was rather excited to go outside to enjoy the snow, I was able to stand up, find warm clothing, slip on my old pink boots, and step outside. My brother had gone to get our lovely yellow four-wheeler, and I just stood outside waiting, realizing that the snow wasn’t quite as exciting (or deep, for that matter) as it once seemed when I was younger. Even so, I trudged along the side of our driveway, where the snow was deeper and clumpier due to the snow plow my dad had used. My movements were repetitive, methodical as I walked slowly through the chunks of snow, smashing as much as my boot would allow. After walking up and down the drive, demolishing the snow, I stopped to admire my work. What had been so beautiful and intact before was now so unimpressive, so broken. I had changed it. I had destroyed it. I remember thinking how odd it was that I had found so much pleasure in destroying those beautiful little mountains of snow.
Later, my brother and I were ready to attach our inflatable tube to our four-wheeler, but first we needed to unravel the strong towing rope we had with us. I ripped the Velcro apart on the piece of fabric that held the tightly wound rope together, and began to untangle and toss the rope out into the snow behind our yellow vehicle of speed. There was that feeling again—as I tossed the rope– that same one I had when I smashed the piles of snow along the driveway. I skipped over to a big clump of rope and sacrificed the warmth of my hands to pick it up and brush away the dusting of snow that had resulted from my careless throwing of it only moments previously. That’s when it occurred to me; crushing, smashing, unraveling, tossing…what a role all of these play in life—my life, your life, all of life. This is what keeps me up at night, as I think about how the blankets on my bed, the walls of my room are simply masking the murmuring and moaning of a world that is unraveling, and looking at the snowy rope, the flattened snow makes me wonder what role I’ve played in this crippling demolition. There is an urgency that I often feel. The clock ticks loudly some days and I’m reminded that my life, the very thing I cling to, has an expiration date. I don’t think about death often, but I think about ceasing to exist. I think of change, how scary it is. I think about the fact that life has no guarantees. There is smashing, crushing of souls happening all the time. I even thought earlier of all the times I have been crushed, destroyed under a careless foot. Sometimes, often times, I unravel just like that rope. I get tangled; I freeze up in the chill of life’s hardships. Sometimes the weight can be so heavy.
BUT…just when my soul was beginning to suffocate, my brother had the four-wheeler revved up, and he was beckoning me to get onto the tube. I jumped on, eager, desperate for fun, for a release of this weight. And that’s when it happened. I held on tight, and that speedy yellow thing took me all over the yard. Snow was spraying into my face like fizz from a freshly opened can of pop, and that’s when I began to laugh. Everything I had just learned in the 10 minutes prior to this was overcome with a newer, greater truth: in the face of hardship, we ALWAYS find a way to laugh. We crush it….the hardship! The power of crushing, unraveling circumstances have no hold because we trump it with simple things like flying over hills on an inflatable tube. We find ourselves put back together again. The piles of crunchy snow rise again. The rope is wound tightly as it should be, and fastened securely until the next ride behind the four-wheeler. We are the victors. What a miracle!
Of course, there’s one last thing to consider here. Before I smiled so big that I thought my face was going to snap off, before I rolled on the ground laughing, I had been powerless. All of that wouldn’t have happened without the four-wheeler and the tube. It may seem silly, but they were more than just a vessel for my physical body. In some ways, I see them as a representation of God’s presence in our lives. I’m not saying that we are always going to be giddy and smiley all the time, but we will be free. He is our escape from the crushing foot of this world. He alone can put us back together again. He restores everything, no matter how far we have run from His intention for our lives. And I am so thankful to be wound up again.