Saturday, March 4, 2017

Sleepless in Birmingham

He sees beyond the mess and into the masterpiece. He sees beauty where all we see is ashes. He sees a blanket of snow where we see a sleepless night.
It was a year ago this week that Birmingham, Alabama experienced something it wasn’t quite prepared for. It was a couple of days many of us will never forget. It was a mixture of chaos and flurries; ice and panic and a city turned upside down.
It was shortly after nine that morning that we began to notice something in the air—snow was falling! We took turns gluing ourselves to the window to catch little glimpses of its wonder and cheered when the announcement came that we would be closing early. But little by little as the day drug on that excitement began to fade.
I know everybody has a snowmageddon story. I know people were trapped and in cars all day. I know people abandoned their vehicles and began to hike. I know people everywhere were helping each other and staying wherever they could. I admire all you people. It was one crazy day. This is my story.
I was working with one-year-olds that day and it became clear as the day progressed that we weren’t going anywhere. Not only were we not leaving early, we were going to be stuck. A few parents made it in and got their kids, but for the most part it was a waiting game. We tried to go about our day as usual, but talks of overnight stay crept into our conversation like a bad cold. And then we reached that moment were we accepted the fact that we weren’t leaving—not that night anyway.
We tried to rally our spirits and look at it as an adventure, but it was by far one of the longest nights of my life. I slept on a baby cot that was as it sounds not intended for someone that is about 5’7 and an avid tosser. I remember being so cold. I was low down on the ground surrounded by babies and it seemed the night air was penetrating through the wall as if it wasn’t even there. I had the accumulation of a borrowed baby mat and two baby blankets that kept separating at every little move I made. It was a far cry from my warm full sized bed, but at least I had something.
The lullaby music played over and over to try and comfort the babies who were away from their homes as well. And the night light lit up the wall like a mocking reminder of the predicament we were in. It was like one giant sleepover in baby land. You can probably guess that I didn’t get much sleep that night. It didn’t appear the kids did either as they took turns waking up on and off. All in all, I’d say we definitely got our adventure.
The next day I took I chance after hearing the roads were better and literally slid home, about five miles per hour in my car. I was low on gas, low on cell phone battery and low on both sleep and morale, but I was determined to make it to the comforts of my own home. I didn’t even stop to play in the snow. It was all about survival.
I laugh about that night now as I tell other people about my experiences, but I know it is definitely not something any of us wish to repeat in the near future. I honestly have sort of looked at that week as one giant bad experience. Wouldn’t you know I got a cold the next day? But then my friend posted something that made me re-evaluate my thoughts. She had a picture of the snow gently falling on the traffic around her and she said “The beautiful (or was it horrible?) 3 hour drive home last year” and as I looked at the picture I thought to myself, from this view, a year later, in fifty degree sunshine, it does look beautiful. How did I miss that last year?
I think our perspective is one of the most precious commodities we have and we waste it on a daily basis. How many times could the picture have looked different from another angle? How many times do we miss the beauty because we are stuck in the pain? I think maybe that’s the most beautiful part of Christ in our lives. He sees beyond the mess and into the masterpiece. He sees beauty where all we see is ashes. He sees a blanket of snow where we see a sleepless night.
I love the simple revelation in this one. I love that we have the power to see life through a variety of lenses. It touched me when I saw that picture and I hope this idea touches you too. My challenge to myself and to you is to look at life from all its many sides. It might just look a little better from a different perspective. Embrace the beauty and the pain. You can’t have one without the other.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11
-Only Hope
-Picture courtesy of Laura Wise. Thanks for always adding beauty to my life.

No comments:

Post a Comment