He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' and the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times."
Where I live, in Georgia, snow is about as common as hearing the word "grits" on a New York street corner. If we get anything at all, it's usually the lightest dusting or the malevolent sleet which wraps everything in a slick, treacherous coat of ice. Last January, Old Man Winter decides to try a different tactic . . .
He sends snow. Tons of it. And, more than once!
And, thanks to my husband, Danny, we are prepared for it better than most.
One of his passions is studying weather maps and making predictions about impending storms, cold waves, heat waves - you get the picture! And, he's amazingly accurate. When it comes to weather, if Danny says, "Jump!", the proper response is, "How high?"
He can read the signs.
He pinpoints the arrival of the snowstorm, and the sub-freezing temperatures that will linger afterward, three days before it hits. Before you can shout "bread, milk, beer!", I am in the car making a mad dash for the grocery store. No standing in long lines for me!
I stock up for the week and then some. In the south, we have to. Snow plows, sand trucks, salt-spreaders, and chains are as easy to find as the proverbial needle in the haystack.
When it snows, as it does with this mega-storm, you can count on hunkering down in your bunker for days . . .
Ten-thirty, Sunday evening.
The snow to end all southern snows begins. Within the hour, three inches of icy, powdery whiteness covers the ground. By morning, the snow fall reaches six inches, a whopping record for us.
Monday is a glorious day! Schools are closed! Everyone is sledding, skiing and, believe it or not, kayaking down glistening slopes. Snowmen pop up like spring weeds on every lawn. Facebook is a-flurry with videos of winter activities and exuberant comments about the joys of snow.
Tuesday. We remain snowbound. The first, faint rumblings of cabin fever begin to emerge on Facebook.
Wednesday. Ditto. The rumblings advance to grumblings.
Thursday. Frustration! Every other cartoon, comment or photo reflects the exasperation of snowbound, snow-bored Georgians longing for relief.
Friday. The honeymoon is definitely over!
The negative reactions of so many to their confinement after the snow is a sign of our times. We are busy. Too busy. We feel we have to keep doing and doing and doing.
Whatever happened to simply being?
Being still? Content within our own skin?
God loves us not for what we do, but for who we are . . .
Will you pray with me?
Why is it easier sometimes, Father, to read the portents in the skies than to see the signs in our lives, in our times, that separate us from You? We want and we need to spend more time with You, still and quiet, listening for Your voice. For, it is in knowing You that we are truly able to know ourselves. Amen.
I am thankful the gift of smiles.
Psalms (83), 23, 27 or 85, 86
1 Maccabees 1:1-28