Snow, God, Reality

It’s early, before 7AM.  I’m not, as a general rule, a morning person.  But my cat is.  He wakes me up almost every morning somewhere between 5 & 6 to go out for his sunrise prowl, whatever that may entail.  This morning it was just about 6, when the world is in a half-light.  I opened the door to let him out and saw everything covered in snow.  I’m from Louisiana, so snow maybe holds a power over me more than some, albeit a distant one as I also hate the cold.  My cat took one look and disdained to set foot outside the door.  I, however, decided that sitting inside my glass-paned screen door, drinking my morning coffee while enjoying the novelty of a white world would be a great way to spend my morning.  And so I have, or am, I suppose.  If you know me, you will know that I go through bursts of various creative spells, including but not exclusively in the category of writing.  I’ve been sort of in a slump lately, at least practically, for anything creative that has seeded in my mind has not come to any physical fruition.  During these slumps, as we will call them, I often feel that my depth and insight are in danger of extinction.  It seems like the surface of life is taking all of me.  Earlier this week, I felt like God was trying to impress on me that this was because I was not focusing any time on being still, meditating on Him, loving Him, loving very much at all.  I’ve learned this before, and then again and again, but am a slow learner and it seems that I needed the lesson yet once more.  Unfortunately, and not so surprisingly, I heard (if you will) this clearly several days ago, and even spoke it aloud, but did not follow this feeling to any activity (or inactivity in this case).  At least, not until this morning.  And this morning, I realized again that when I stop thinking about today and what I have to do and what I need to wear and so on and so forth, that something like an awakening occurs.  Thoughts of higher things, deeper things, REAL things come to the surface and I know they must have been there all along, waiting for me to hear them.  This should be apparent, because God states it very clearly in Matthew 6:25-34: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  So why do you worry about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore, do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek.  For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”But let’s move past the fact that I actually HAD a thought, and on to the thought itself.  I am not sure yet how to formulate it, in its entirety, into words, but here goes.  I was looking out my window into the greyness of the sky and the whiteness of everything else.  Have you ever noticed how cars and power lines seem like desecrations of beauty?  When all should be wonder, there are these bits of the grossly unnatural that become something akin to sacrilege.  The houses could stay, and could, in fact, even become some ramshackle old wreck of a building without interfering.  But the cars need to be replaced with buggies waiting for their horses or sleighs waiting for their bells.  The power lines simply need to be annihilated.  They have cut too many a sunset in half.  The street lights need only to be transformed into lamp posts of the old style.  This opinion, I’m sure, can be attributed to a sort of residual childhood fixation which came from obsessively reading and re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.  None of this is my point, but I couldn’t bear not to mention it.  So, I was looking out at the little bit of the world outside my door, and thought, “How like a picture!”  Now, you may think that I am editing that thought into something that sounds more literary, but I assure you that those are the exact words I thought, and in a British accent to boot.  My thoughts are largely shaped by reading, very possibly reading too much, and by listening to audiobooks on my ipod…audiobooks which often seem to be read by the English, or, at least, by people pretending to be English.  Upon thinking this (“How like a picture!”, in case you’ve forgotten), I realized, though not immediately enough to feel very bright, that this statement (or thought, whatever you will) was all wrong.  To look at the world and say, “How like a picture!” is exactly like looking at the Mona Lisa and stating how amazingly it resembles the poster you saw in the gift shop on the way in.  It seemed, to me, that something must be wrong with my perception for me to be impressed when the real thing reminded me of the copy.  So, I began to think, what might it be about the copy that makes me wish the real thing were more like it?  It didn’t take me long to figure it out.  In the picture (the one in my head), all of the things I didn’t want to be seeing would be taken out.  We want our pictures to show beauty.  Very few people would take a photograph of an otherwise picturesque snow scene, and intentionally include in it a dead, decaying deer lying in the ditch.  (This is just an example, there was no deer.  I’m sure there are better examples, but be relieved, as this was the most civil and passive example of ugliness my mind considered.)  In pictures, you can see things how you want, show them how you want.  In life, you can idealize them and see them how you want, you can hide and not see them at all, or you can see them as they really are.  A picture allows us ignorance of what might be ugly lurking in the peripherals of that copied world.  The real thing is harder to admit ignorance to, and yet we do it with such finesse in our attempts at a comfortable existence.  I was looking at the world this morning, and, for a moment, wanted to pretend that the ugliness was not there.  But it was.  And the wonder of that – the wonder of God – is that even when I looked at it with this clarity, the beauty was still there…all mixed in with the ugliness.  Thank God for that. 


1 Comment

  1. May 16, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    […] but it is incongruously placed immediately next door to destruction, which if you have read my Snow, God, Reality blog, you can see I do not think is REALLY so incongruous.  It’s just the way life is.  Anyway, […]

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