There are snow piles everywhere and they keep getting higher and higher. I am not a fan of winter. I don’t like being cold and when it is cold outside I eat too much and stay inside too much. Ever since Tom and I retired, we have been spending the winters someplace warm. Until, of course, this year with the pandemic. This year we are hunkered down in our little house in Ohio and, of course, it is one of the harshest winters in the last ten years. More snow. More cold. More yuck.
I have been making myself get out every day. I do a three-mile loop around Char-Mar Ridge Park and have managed to do it all except two days since January 1. There are days I don’t want to go out walking, but I do it because I know I will feel better when I do.
We have been watching Lakeside United Methodist Church worship services during this time that churches are not having in-person services. Rev. Karen Graham is a our favorite preacher and she always has a very good message. This last Sunday, on Valentine’s Day, she talked about snow piles. It is such a good metaphor for our Christian lives that I wanted to pass it on.
Rev. Graham talked about a retreat she went to one year in February. Although it was still winter, the retreat happened on some of those days when winter feels like spring. It was sunny and warm and she decided to take a walk around the retreat grounds. Following one path, she encountered a big pile of snow. She was startled by all the snow because the weather was so warm and spring-like. But, upon reflection, she realized that the snow pile was a lot like our hearts as Christians.
Sometimes we get things piled up in our hearts: we refuse to forgive, we feel unloving, we harbor resentment or anger. These things can make our hearts cold and hard. It can take a long time for God’s love to thaw things enough that the snow piles disappear. Just a few sunny minutes in prayer won’t take care of all the things that have piled up. But, if we let God continue to work in us, eventually the hurts we hang on to will dissipate. It takes time and patience, and repeated trips to the warming hearth of God, but forgiveness can come and we can let go.