The weather forecast for today and tomorrow contains dire predictions. Snow, sleet and lots of both. I haven’t heard the latest predictions, (they keep changing!) but I understand that there will be plenty of whatever falls from the sky.
In the middle of this “winter weather event” (forecaster-ese for “snow storm”), I am on call. As long as the Metro and buses are running tomorrow morning, I’ll get home. Slowly. But I’ll get home and share in the snow-blowing and shoveling and other assorted post-storm tasks. And yes, catch up on my sleep!
It’s really easy to get caught up in the hype. My Minnesotan friends giggle when DC panics over a foot of snow. If they were trying to drive in it with the crazy-pants around here, they’d be less flip about it. No, the easiest strategy we’ve found is to plan ahead, work from home, or, in my case, have a back up plan (or two).
This morning I walked around the labyrinth, taking time to enjoy the quiet. There were large branches down from the last storm. The squirrel and rabbit tracks made it clear that there were a lot of foragers running around, getting ready for the next storm. The ground was crunchy underfoot, the snow pockmarked and uneven from melting. Those bricks in the labyrinth, so carefully laid in August and September, are hidden by leaves. Yet the way to follow is still there.
In my work as a chaplain, there are plenty of moments where it can be peaceful and quiet. I have learned to take the time to breathe, remember Whose I am, and gather in as much of that soaking love of God as I can. I can choose to do paperwork or take a walk-about, visiting the units and talking to staff members. (And yes, there are moments where I just sit and read social media or play a game on my phone. I’m not Super a Woman and there’s no S on my chest! Sometimes, I need a breather.)
And then life (for someone) becomes chaotic, crazed and uncertain. My pager goes off, or the overhead announcement calls out a trauma or a code blue. I carry that moment of peace, the calm before the storm with me.
And sometimes, when I close my eyes to pray with a patient or a family, I think of the over-arching trees and the crunch of snow underfoot. And then I try to convey that peace and hope in my words.
The calm before the storm… The Peace that calms the storm… I carry it with me.
I’m feeling paralyzed this morning by a snow that folks in the far north would laugh off as a non-event. And I’m thinking of how nice it would be to walk slowly and quietly through a peaceful labyrinth.