Monday morning the wind was howling and snow was swirling when I pulled out onto the icy county road and headed to the Plainview Post Office. Snow was piling up on the roads but few snowplows were running due to poor visibility. I arrived at the Post Office along with most of the other mail carriers, but there would be no mail delivered that day because the mail truck was stuck in Amarillo where heavy snow and blizzard conditions were making National news.
It had taken me forty-five minutes to drive the 17 miles to the Post Office but the trip home was even longer. Several times I stopped to get my bearings and make sure I was still on the road since I could see little beyond the hood of my car. I was thankful for long, straight roads. I made it to the end of our long driveway before I found myself stuck in a snow bank, and I walked the last 200 yards to the house – cold and wet but home at last.
Late that afternoon, after the winds subsided a bit, we discovered the snow had continued to drift around the car and despite our best efforts we were unable to free it. The next morning I tried to make it to the Post Office again in my daughter’s pickup but high-centered it in a drift before I was even out of the drive. Meanwhile, my son’s pickup was trapped behind high drifts at the barn.
We spent Tuesday morning digging out vehicles and with the help of a neighbor we were finally able to free both my car and Jennifer’s pickup. Of course we were not the only ones digging out; all over the Texas Panhandle people were digging out and trying to resume a normal routine after the abnormally heavy snow. Today, after three days of sunshine and warmer temperatures most of the roads have been cleared and much of the snow has melted and life has returned to normal.
Yesterday the mail resumed and after work, I made a quick trip to Wal-Mart to purchase some new rubber boots for myself and Jennifer – working in slushy snow is a quick way to find out if your boots leak. While I was there I also purchased a new rain jacket that was on clearance, but all the way home I thought about how many pairs of shoes and boots I have and how many jackets I own. My rain jacket may be in bad shape and my rubber boots may be split, but I have so many other options. I thought about how many children there are in this world who don’t even own a jacket or a pair of shoes and how my money might have purchased those things for someone else who has no other options.
The snow storm may have been bad, but I think I have been caught in another storm of far bigger proportions traveling blindly on a straight road that I know too well – a storm of blind self-centeredness. I have been snowed in –snowed in my own little middle-class world. It is a world from which I have never even attempted to dig out and remaining ‘snowed in’ focusing only on what is inside my own little circle is normal. But I am a part of another kingdom, and I have been praying that my eyes will be opened to the world beyond my door. I don’t want to remain here focused on self and my own little world. I may not be able to dig out by myself but when the Son shines on those things that are temporal, I pray they will melt, no longer important and impeding. And when they have melted and roads have cleared, I pray I will never return to normal.