As I write this, the remnants of the “ice storm of the decade” are slowly melting away. A few thoughts have gone through my mind regarding this event.
Ice storms come with their own unique beauty. As rain falls on everything and then freezes, the world is coated in clear, glimmering ice. It turns the world into a beautiful scene.
There were plenty of pictures on Facebook and in newspapers showing how the world was transformed — icicles hanging from the eaves of homes and vehicles. Flowers and trees coated in a veneer of crystal. Yards and rooftops colored white.
There were people – adults and children alike – who thrilled at playing outdoors. It was a rare treat to be able to grab a plastic clothes basket or a sheet of cardboard to slide down a hill at a park, or down the incline of a closed roadway. It was a delight for children to make small icemen (as compared to snowmen) for the first time in their lives.
There was something unifying about this rare event. Neighbors, usually just nodding acquaintances, were out talking together while marveling at this winter wonderland; their children played together; and they, themselves, allowed for a little child-like enjoyment.
How wonderful! It seems as though getting together like that should be the norm and not the exception – to be together enjoying life.
On another note, there was also great danger in that beauty! The weight of the ice broke limbs from, and even toppled entire trees. Walkways became slippery, causing people to slip and fall — sometimes with devastating consequences to arms and legs. Roads became skating rinks, causing drivers to lose control of their vehicles and helplessly crash into other vehicles or stationary objects.
There was great danger in the visual beauty. It's sort of like temptation, isn’t it? Something looks very appealing. The attraction can be so strong that all that can be seen is what is in front of us. But then, when we succumb to that temptation, the results are devastating. Life as we knew it becomes broken. It sometimes falls apart. And we crash headlong into distressing consequences.
The best way to keep from danger like that is to remain safely away from it, knowing that if you get drawn into it, you may rue the day you gave in.
My final observation is this. It was very, very cold outside. Spending even a short time outdoors caused numbness in fingers and toes, made eyes water and noses run. It was a welcome relief to return indoors to feel the warmth penetrate and rejuvenate the body.
The presence of Jesus Christ in a person’s heart does the same thing. Remembering Christ is the center of your heart after being out in the world dealing with cold, harsh realities warms your heart and soul, bringing a rejuvenating warmth and comfort. His grace, presence, strength, mercy, and love radiate outward to every portion of your being to remind you that you are never alone, that you are loved, that you are precious in his sight.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview’s pastor.