Friday, October 21, 2016

Reflections on a Snowy Day

It is hard to believe that we have been in Girdwood, AK for over three months.  The summer ended in a beautiful eruption of color lasting for what seemed like moments, before we had our first snowfall earlier this week.  Today we are met with more snowfall and a beautiful white blanket covering the ground.

I am not sure if it is just my perception, but the world seems quieter and more still during a snow fall.  There is a quiet gracefulness in the snowflakes falling lightly; twisting and turning as they make their way to the ground.  The evergreens seem more vibrant in color with a coating of pure white on their limbs and the smoke from the chimneys in the homes around town lead one to believe that there is warmth and comfort inside.  Maybe this is why I want to play Christmas carols all day or watch "White Christmas" for the hundredth time.  Nostalgia and the coming to life of a Norman Rockwell painting have taken my heart captive for the moment.

We have been in Alaska for just over three months and it has been everything I thought it would be and beyond.  Most of our Facebook posts focus on the breathtaking landscape and the stunning wildlife that we experience here.  It is surreal to us that such astonishing beauty is right outside our door.  It is sometimes hard to consider that life must be lived within the constraints of our jobs and the kids school, when there is so much wilderness to be explored and so many new things to see and experience.  But, this is what we signed up for, this is what we prayed, that God would reveal His glory to us in a new and exciting way.

I think about my path.  I think about the road my family and I are on and I find it so extraordinary to consider how we wound up here in Alaska.  I think about the way my girls have put themselves out there to make friends and to try new and different things.  I am so proud of them for inviting their friends to church and talking with them about God.  I am thankful for the strength that God has given Alicia to make a new house a home.  I am in awe of her faith and courage to take on each day as a child of God and a messenger of God's Word.  I think about all of these things as I look out over the blanket of white snow and realize that this is the righteousness of God's work.  This is the love that God reveals to us in our daily lives.

If you ask Alicia, or anyone that has known me for an extended period of time for that matter, they will not hesitate to corroborate that I am a dreamer.  My father-in-law and I talked once about his worry for me after seeing the letter I wrote to join the Air Force.  He was concerned that nothing could live up to the standard of the organization or people that I wrote about.  He was not concerned that I thought so highly of the military, or that I had such lofty expectations, he was worried that I would be hurt or disappointed by my actual experience.  Of course, the time we talked about that was a time where life had dealt me a particularly rough blow.  His point was not to say, "I told you so." But, his point, I think, was to remind me who I was.

I have read many articles, listened to many commentators, followed and participated in many social media feeds that discuss how America is less than.  I have remained silent for many reasons, but this idea of this country that I love being less than hurts my heart.  Nothing hurts my heart more than to consider that some believe that God's presence is diminishing in out world.  We have had a year that is ripped from the annals of history.  There has been incidents of violence against minority populations, there have been acts of terrorism, there have been reports of genocide and wars fought in unimaginable fashions, there has been corruption of justice, and the attack on those who provide protection.  There is a political season in the center.  There are candidates who don't care much for the other, or what has to be said to bring the other down.  In the midst of this unrest there is a country unsure of its footing, where folks feel so limited in their voice that they must kneel or omit themselves in protest against unseen forces from a reminder to the glory of what it means to live in a country where there voice does matter.

I am a dreamer.  But, I dream in truth.  I dream in knowing that God is working in this world.  I dream that evil only can rear its head for so long until the righteousness of God covers it with a pure blanket of snow.  The cacophony of hatred will be muted by the softness of God's voice making the world more vibrant in its differences, rather than muted because of them.  Amidst these things that clog our senses each and every day with their noise, I have seen the peaceful glory of God at work.  I have felt the presence of what it is like to say "yes" and to be exposed to new and unexpected nuances of God's grace.  I have seen the power of God's eyes through the eyes of children and through all of those who are called to share God's love with the world around them.  I have hope.  I have hope in the one who died on a cross for all of the world's sins.  I know that I am loved.  I know that this world is loved.  I know that together we are claimed by God to be glorious sons and daughters, redeemed to be prince and princesses of Christ, and placed on earth to reign in love and righteousness with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We are individual snowflakes falling, gently and easily, guided by God.  Together we will create the pure blanket that coats the world in peace and softness, allowing us to breathe in the crisp, invigorating breath of God in a collective moment.  God will heal what appears to be broken, we just need to turn our hearts to Him.

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