Right now the snow is falling in thick, lazy flakes outside my window. All is hushed. That’s what snow does. Quiets a restless world. Invites us to a deeper peace when the distractions of this time of year or our personal lives pull us elsewhere.
Snow gives us permission to catch our breath, do nothing. Nap. Write. Read.
Now I sit with the dog and the companionship of a friend. I am in wonder at this snowfall, even though I have seen many. And in awe how this world unfolds in its own natural timing and beauty if we allow it.
Yet, it seems anything but this. Read or see the news, travel the threads on Facebook and we discover a world in turmoil.
While this snow descends peacefully, in other parts of the globe — and in this country — we find political strife, women being abused, the potential for a nuclear war and countless refugees fleeing their homelands to find security, survival and hope.
Has it always been this way? Will it always be?
We were given a great gift as humans — free will — and I often ask myself: When we will use this gift to create peace? Lasting peace. True love of each other so that we will live on the planet as was intended. An earth ripe with blessings, that provides all that we need if we only consent to partnership with each other to do what is right and good.
And yet. I have hope.
The other day, I was at the grocery store and bought about five items. No express lane in this store. The woman ahead of me also had a few purchases in her cart. But the woman in front of us had enough groceries in her cart to last a month.
She looked at the African-American woman ahead of me, then at me.
“Why don’t you both go ahead?”
“Really?” I asked. “Thank you,” we both said in unison.
When I got back home, a package was waiting for me from a family friend. She had said to be on the look out for it and I had no idea what it might be. A book on caregiving arrived and I was extremely touched by her act of thoughtfulness. She took time out of her day, to buy it, mail it.
On Facebook, more videos are being posted of the extreme good being done in the world. The woman who was so moved by the homeless man who gave her his last $20 after she ran out of gas that she started a fundraiser for him, collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars. He is taking that money in turn and helping others.
Or the man who ordered online items — socks, coats, food — for the homeless. He had the products delivered to those in need right there, on the streets.
Small gestures? Perhaps. But how can we ever measure how this good ripples out and multiplies in myriad ways we may never see or understand?
Yes, we hear much today about divisiveness and hatred in our world. But that’s not who we are. I believe we are hard wired to be kind and loving. In other words, it’s in our DNA to be good.
God, or the Divine or whatever name you wish to give the great source of love, is in our genes.
When we don’t allow that good to express, we short circuit. Humanity goes awry and we lose our way home. To each other. To love.
The late author and spiritual teacher Henri Nouwen encourages us that “we become beautiful people when we give whatever we can give: a smile, a handshake, a kiss, an embrace, a word of love, a present, a part of our life… all our life.”
As the snow falls, I am reminded that each snowflake is unique in design. And beautiful. So are we. We each have a special gift to give the world.
In most instances, that gift will not be grandiose, but a small, simple offering of our presence to one another in our daily lives — with a smile, a kind word.
When we share those gifts, we are like the gentle snowfall outside, quieting our world into peace. We become beautiful. We become what we are hard wired to be. Love.