What is happening under the snow

    I woke up to snow, snow and more snow. Through our glass patio doors stood leafless trees in their winter fleece.

    I said to my Sweet Al, "The trees look ghostly, like they could die under all of that weight." Of course, if winter has taught us anything, it's not what we see but what we can't see that tells a story.

    I remember the harsh winter seasons of the '70s and '80s. It wasn't uncommon to have no less than 3 to 4 feet of snow on the ground. For a period of time, there was no phone and no electricity. We didn't have a four-wheel drive and had no way of removing the heavy snow. Our kids walked 2 miles along the Lower Blanco to reach U.S. 84 to catch the school bus. In the evening, the family would gather around a glowing woodstove to keep warm. Those days were harder than hard. Could anyone possibly understand what we were going through? We were not much to look at, had no money and were simply just not prepared for Pagosa. We had eagerly moved from hot, dry Arizona to live "the mountain life."

    I can still envision Ruby Sisson driving her 1965 green Chevy to the school where she worked. I would shake my head in disbelief every time I saw her. Now, that was a tough woman. Rain or snow, I don't think she ever missed a day of work.

    I was not as tough. I cried out to God in desperation. "Have you turned your back on us? Will we ever get through the winter?" We were too broke to move, yet too broke to stay.

    In my pathetic state, I felt like Isaiah running through the streets of Israel with his buttock showing. He surrendered to God, "Here am I. Send me." Did he really understand what he was saying? After all, things didn't go exactly the way he expected either.

    As I sit back and think through those days, I am understanding that our story is not just about "the state" that we are in. Philippians 1:6 says, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

    Even the leafless trees understand this. Although they may hunker down and cozy up to winter's blast, it won't be long before their outstretched roots find themselves strengthened, limbs bursting with fruit. Come to think of it, it's not any different from the promise God plants in our hearts.

    How often do we only see the cold and uninviting obstacles in our path, rather than a strength that weathers even the most difficult of days?

    Final brushstroke: Today is where we are, but it is not where we are going. While we have to experience the here and now, we are more than the value of any given moment. There will come a time when all our todays will mean something. Not because we survived them, but because they are part of that which completes us.


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