My four-year-old, Grace was the most excited. She doesn’t care about missing school – in fact, she’d prefer not to. It was the actual snow that had her jumping and screaming.
Living in the south, we don’t see too many flakes fall. Grace was almost two the last time we got a good snow day and doesn’t really remember it at all. When the forecasters predicted 1-3 inches in our suburb north of Atlanta, I figured it was safe to assure her, that indeed, it would definitely snow. So, of course, by late afternoon Tuesday in the “surprise” or “predicted” (depending on who you are asking – the meteorologist or the mayor) snow, we were all dressed with four layers, boots, mittens and scarves ready to play. Who knows when we’ll see it again?
I followed my crew and a few neighborhood kids with the camera, snapping the obligatory pictures of snowball fights and sledding. Even my husband was home; his work released him early. He even beat my fourth-grader home on the bus.
But somewhere between snapping pictures, drinking hot chocolate, changing into dry clothes, posting on Facebook and heading out again I was made aware of the many who didn’t make it home before their children’s buses and those buses who never showed up on the street corner with waiting mothers.
People all over my home city of Atlanta were stranded. One of my husband’s co-workers left work before him but headed into the storm and had to seek shelter at a Walgreen’s. He spent the night on the floor somewhere between the feminine products and Valentine’s candy.
Wednesday morning, as my children awoke to a full day of sledding and merriment, the news shared stories of those who spent all night in their cars, people needing food and medication.
At one point I stood in the backyard, camera to my face, framing up a picture of my daughter throwing snowballs at my husband, and I felt a little guilty. Not that I was wrong for enjoying my family. I don’t believe that at all. I just struggled with the dichotomy of my family enjoying the snow while others walked miles in it to be with their children or deliver food or babies. (Yes, one lady gave birth on I-285!)
No sooner than the guilt appeared, the Lord impressed on my heart – “Carol, how is this different than any other day?”
You see, every day there are hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of people hurting all around us. Those with pains we cannot see – broken hearts, broken lives, loss and grief, disillusionment, hopelessness, bondage, loneliness… The list goes on and on.
While I’m so proud of my city for stepping up and helping out during this crazy, icy mess we’ve been in for the past couple of days, I’m also asking myself what about every other day? What happens on Saturday when the weather is predicted to be 60 degrees, and the sun returns? Will the Snowed Out Atlanta Facebook page continue to be a source of help for people after the ice thaws?
I’m looking at the sequined lady in the mirror, too, friends. How can I live my life to serve those around me everyday? I want to be an Everyday Missionary – a person who stops to help when someone drops their groceries, who sacrifices to give to those who need, who gives time to friends who need to talk and shows grace when school systems make the call to close school too late.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:36-39 NIV
So as the snow thaws, I ask you fellow Atlantans and Americans, what are we going to do now? Let’s don’t wait for the next disaster to show love to our neighbors.
It’s time to break the ice. Don’t you think?