When it snows…

Snow

I am really ready for winter to be over. I’m ready for spring and warm weather and no more snow! So, you can imagine my reaction a couple days ago when I discovered that the forecast included a decent amount of snow. Right now, I can look out the window and see a good 8-9 inches already on the ground and the snow is still falling.

You could expect my attitude to be a little negative. But actually, I surprised myself this morning when I looked out the window and didn’t find myself frustrated with the snow and disappointed because of the cold weather. Instead, I saw beauty in the snow on the ground and covering the trees. And I was kind of glad it had snowed after all.

To be perfectly honest, this sort of surprised me. I started thinking about why my attitude toward the weather had changed. I realized the reason was because my perspective had shifted.

I know it’s easy for me to desire a certain set of circumstances for my life. It could be the weather, or my plan for the week, or something regarding the people I’m with. And when life doesn’t match those circumstances, I immediately assume that’s a bad thing. In this case, I had wanted the weather to be one way, and it went the opposite. But that didn’t have to define my attitude. I may not have control over my circumstances, but I do have control over what I do with my circumstances and how I view them. In this case, I was able to appreciate my circumstances and enjoy the weather even though it wasn’t what I might have wanted or thought was “best.”

How I look at life will, in many ways, actually define my life. If I choose to be negative when things don’t go my way, then my life will be pretty negative overall. If, on the other hand, I choose to shift my perspective as my circumstances change, I can learn to work with my circumstances and appreciate them for what they are and not get frustrated because of what they are not. Instead of comparing the weather to what to I want it to be, I can instead view it for what it is – a beautiful testimony of God’s creativity.

And next time it might not be something as small as the weather. What will I do when life hands me something unexpected or unwanted? My perspective and my attitude are completely up to me.

It sure is neat how something as small as snow can teach me something that big.

Advertisements

Absence

Darkness. Despair. Silence. Death.

Each of these are not things; they are the absence of a thing. Darkness is the absence of light. Despair is the absence of hope. Silence is the absence of sound. Death is the absence of life.

But would we know that light existed except that it sometimes does not exist? If there was no darkness, would we even notice light? If we never were in despair, would we ever know that hope existed? Too often appreciation only comes after a thing has been taken away. We don’t realize how important it is to us until it’s gone.

Is that the way it should be? What if we didn’t take the things in our life for granted? What if we didn’t wait to appreciate the small things in life until we noticed they were gone? What if we chose to open our eyes and see what we haven’t noticed?

It’s not easy. It might even seem silly. Appreciating the things in life that are always around, the mundane, the small, the seemingly insignificant. It could appear quite odd. If we’d never experienced silence, why would we appreciate sound? ¬†But it’s not silly. We find out just how important something is once it’s gone. But do we want to wait? Celebrate life before death, not just after. Appreciate the people in your life while they’re still here; don’t wait until they’re gone.

We probably won’t ever truly understand the value of some things in life until they’re taken away from us. But we can at least try. We can be intentional about living life with thankfulness and with eyes open. We can choose to not take things for granted.

How would this change the way we live? We’d be more thankful. We’d live with more wonder in our eyes. We wouldn’t waste opportunities. We would be more careful with our resources. But I think the biggest change is that our relationships with people would change. We’d be more patient. We’d love more. We’d care more.

Absence may make the heart grow fonder. But why wait for absence?

Don’t wait. Don’t let absence be the reason you appreciate. Appreciate because it’s here. Even if you haven’t noticed it yet.