snow days as sabbath days

It was a snowy day in Portland. Well, actually it was a snowy week in Portland, three years ago last month.

We'd had a bit of snow a few days before which I had shoveled from my sidewalk as I made my way into work, like the dutiful public servant I was at the time. On this particular day, however, I opened my door to realize that I was snowed in. Literally.

It's not that we'd had a blizzard, but rather that the winds from the Columbia River Gorge had been fierce the night before and apparently blown all of the snow in the near vicinity into the small space between my front door (which was actually on the side of my duplex) and the house next door. Hence when I opened my door, there was snow at least 4 feet high barring my entrance to the world. And my shovel? It was outside of course, underneath all that snow.

So I did what any wise woman would do. I called my boss, explained the situation to her dubious ears ("What do you mean you're snowed in? We only got a few inches last night!") and hunkered down for a vacation day ... or two ... or three.

My kitchen was well stocked and I had loads of chores to do. My mother had passed away a few months before after a very long illness, and I was still readjusting to my life, my house and the world. Dealing with people was particularly difficult during that period of deep grief, and so I relished the opportunity to spend some time on my own.

I cleaned, I organized, I sorted. After a day or so I felt inspired to create a prayer space in my living room. Then one day I realized that I was keeping myself busy for the sheer sake of keeping busy. If I was busy, I didn't need to deal with my grief. If I was busy, I didn't need to deel with my anger at God. If I was busy, I didn't have to deal with all that was bubbling underneath the surface.

All of a sudden, it was as if someone let all the air out of the balloon. I was exhausted, and so I rested. In the quiet of a snow covered duplex, I relished in the silence. No tv, no radio. Just me ... and God. For the first time in a long time I felt God's presence. I didn't find any answers to my questions about suffering and death, the loss of a parent, or a world at war. Instead I felt God's loving presence, God's peace and strength in the midst of the chaos, and a little nudge. The nudge didn't have a name at that point, but there it was all the same, inviting me into deeper relationship with my creator God.

Those snowy days were sabbath days of renewal. They were an opportunity to bridge the gap between who I had had been and who I was becoming. In the days, weeks and months that followed, I developed a regular prayer life that was incredibly sustaining. I was rejuvenated in my ministries at the parish. I recommited myself to my job at the City. I reconnected with friends. And I started to pay attention to those pesky thoughts that maybe there was something more that God was calling me to. The rest, as they say, is history still in the making.

1 comment:

Katherine said...

God works n mysterious ways..Bless you dear in your grief..it will be easier in time.