When God Says,”Stop”

It’s snowy in Washington. According to my ruler there are 28 inches of snow on the ground in front of the Rectory. It’s still snowing. Add to that the blowing and drifting and even walking is ill advised. To get to the plowed street where you can reasonably walk requires you to go through knee high snow. As Nor’easters go, this was a big storm. Even midwest cities would be challenged by this.

And God says, “Stop.” In today’s reading Jesus challenged his disciple to come aside and rest a while. (Matt 6:31). We seldom take his advice and run every which way. But today God insists, at least in Washington and the Mid Atlantic. All around the city families are actually home and talking to each other. Parents are actually with their children for an extended time. Married couples are getting to know each other again, if even for a brief time. Families are actually having dinner together in their own house. And yes, there’s also the bad side. Irritable moments, getting on each other’s nerves, cabin fever. In some places God really put on the pressure. There are power outages which prevent TVs etc from blaring. Why some people are even rediscovering the art of conversation and telling stories. Quite remarkable actually. And, dare I say it and dare I hope it? Yes, I will! Perhaps nine months from now there will be a bevy of blizzard babies to baptize. Yes it would be nice to have a few more babies to baptize, may God provide the gift of new life.

And so God says to the busy soul, “Stop.”  Relax, reaquaint, rediscover and rejoice.

 Well, OK, I do admit that there is SOME extra work when it snows. Here’s a brief look at what a neighbor was doing today. I also had to spend and hour or two shoveling a path in front of the Church! Ah, but it was a good work out.

21 Replies to “When God Says,”Stop””

  1. You’ll probably say I’m crazy, but I wish we were getting all that snow here. Instead, ours is melting.

    Stay warm and dry, y’all!

  2. We got 34 inches in Olney. Spent about a good 3 hours shoveling, unearthing cars, helping elderly neighbors, etc. I was covered in snow from head to toe, but had a blast. I climbed in the back of my dad’s truck to clean off the roof of his truck and the snow was up to my hips! I have enjoyed the time with my family. I’ve gotten time to study, and catch up with friends. In bad weather and life in general there are really 2 ways you can look at it – you can have fun and make the most and best of the experience, or you can whine and gripe about things you can’t change. Nearly 3 feet of snow is something I have not seen until now. And watching the sunset over the snow was worth all the wind and cold and pain I endured earlier today to help with my own driveway as well as my neighbors’.

    I enjoy reading your blog posts, and thank you for giving me something to read today, when there is not too much to do!

  3. My husband and I shoveled and shoveled, and we now are dosed up on ibuprofen and reeking of Ben-Gay.

    I suspect that tomorrow morning we’ll watching Mass on TV. Our street likely will not see a plow until Tuesday, and I had my fill of trailbreaking through two feet of snow when I walked my daughter over to her friend’s house. Someone we passed on the way back observed that this was NOT a storm for short people (I’m 5’2″, and my third-grader is about 4½ feet tall).

    1. Oh me to. I feel so old just now. Until about ten years ago I could shovel all day but now at forty-eight I will not make it to sleep with out high dosage aspirin

      1. One of the health-management strategies one learns when one passes one’s 40th birthday is to take ibuprofen BEFORE starting the strenuous activity!

        At the moment I’m feeling no ill effect…however we still have to clean off our cars, and finish clearing off the driveway.

  4. Well, there is no reason that shoveling snow cannot be a family affair. You can still talk and tell stories even when the kids have shovels in their hands.

    And from someone who grew up in somewhat snow country, you are absolutely right that God says “stop,” but it is best to stop at the right time — after the snow is cleared. You need to get that snow cleared BEFORE all it gets hard-packed from people walking on it and especially BEFORE it, being very wet, turns to ice. If you stop now, before it is cleared, come tomorrow when it has turned to ice due to dropping temps, forget about getting your car unburied until Thursday or Friday.

    Do pray, though, that God grant the people of the D.C. area stout hearts, literally. All that shoveling is quite a work out.

    Oh, and even if you don’t do your own walks, go shovel the driveway and walks of that old lady next door.

    1. Hard truths here Bender. I wish I had heeded your advice and shoveled in stages early in the storm. But I was lazy and waited and now I have a near impossible task. My usual snwo crew is out sick. Perhaps they’ll be by tomorrow.

  5. You just pricked my memory of January in 1996. I was a couple days overdue when the blizzard hit & the news announced the neighborhoods wouldn’t be shoveled for several days. The men on my street got together and shoveled our street to the main road- just in case I went into labor. It was a lot of work, but I believe the guys were happy to have an excuse to get out of the house. I also remember 9 months later, a friend of mine was getting ready to for her blizzard baby, and the hospitals were so crowded, she almost delievered in a waiting area.

    On a sadder note, we just received word that a friend of our died while trying to dig out in Baltimore. I hope everyone uses caution in trying to deal with this much snow. We have several older neighbors, and it’s been a big group effort to shovel them out, and now my son and daughter are both out cold, and my husband is becoming pretty good friend with the heating pad- and they’re all strong, healthy people.

    1. Live and death in one comment. A great story about the pregnancy. Storms like this often bring our great generosity in people. I have noticed people tonight out walking up the middle of the deserted road. They stop and talk and wave as they pass by. This is simply not done at other times.

      May your friend rest in peace. It may help to consider that digging is a symbol for searching and also of our struggle to reach God. To die while searching and clearing the path is a symbol for the journey home.

  6. this was NOT a storm for short people

    Yes, when you go out in a group, you have to use the buddy system and remember to do a roll call. It is pretty easy for us short folks to just disappear in this much snow. You got to keep an eye on the dog, one wrong step and he’ll just vanish on you.

    But . . . it is GREAT for building snow forts and digging tunnels in.

    1. When I suggested to my daughter that she take a turn going first – after all, SHE had snow-pants, and I did not, she declined. She claimed that being taller trumped having snow-pants.

      I had considered taking the dog (yellow lab) along, but she doesn’t understand the concept of walking in a straight line, and had we followed her we would’ve ended up walking twice as far!

  7. My son lives in Baltimore and commutes to Washington for work. So I knew about the blizzard in Washington, but just learned here that it went that far north. Knowing my son, though, he’ll get to work today. How? Thanks for the reference to Matthew for the answer. Great hearing about you down there. Up here, (Canada) we’ve had a dry winter. Fortunately I’m old enough the city clears the walkway for me. Ah! the advantages of retirement!

  8. Last night on the late news, the weatherperson said that DC had a total of 75 inches of snow so far this year, while here in Salt Lake City UT, where I live, we have had only 22 inches. Normally, it would be the other way around. The lack of snow this winter means that next summer we will be running short of water, since summer water comes from the previous winter’s snowpack in the mountains. The last significant snow we had was back in 2009, about a week before Christmas. Enjoy the snow and family togetherness while it lasts!

    1. A bit of an exaggeration. We’ve had only about 45 inches. Our snowiest was back in 1999 I think at 54 inches. However, I am sad to hear of your snow drought and know it causes great problems. Here in the east water is abundant and we seldom think of droughts most years. Our usual rainful here in DC is over 40 inches of rain per year. May God grant abundance to Rockies!

  9. So much for global warming. Here in Maine the only snow left is from the piles left by the plow. Over 40 years ago when we had a major power outage in the Northeast we DID have an increase in births..PRAISE GOD!!!

  10. Father,
    I love this aticle. I totally agree…snow is a blessing. I’m a first year teacher & a “first yearer” in D.C.. I’ve been praying for snow just to have a much needed rest. Little did I know how much my cup would overflow. 🙂
    Ha Ha…. I hope there are many snow babies!

    Enjoy round two!

    1. Fortunately my husband purchased two large tubes of Ben-Gay in addition to the usual storm supplies.

  11. While I was out driving around Bethesda this afternoon, I passed a church with this on its message board:

    Let it snow
    Let it snow

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