The news predicted the snow would begin falling before noon. And it did so in a flutter of gentle, soft flakes. My Bible study girls watched them through the window while talking excitedly, but mostly ignoring the “danger” the weather stations were broadcasting. We in the South are used to news outlets crying wolf when it comes to wintry blasts and apocalyptic storms. We mostly yawn and roll over, un-phased by extreme predictions.
But indeed, this time our world turned white, slowly and quietly.
Buses arrived home early, and the kids spent the afternoon filtering in and out of the house, embracing the experience of cold, but with a purpose.
My phone began to ring and buzz with the news of friends and neighbors stranded, the ice quickly forming underneath roads and on bridges. My children remained oblivious.
But inwardly my concern for those I love was growing. And with it, an equal feeling of helplessness about being able to “do” anything physically to assist. My phone continued its mad eruption of updates from friends and family, and Facebook continued to report nothing but bad news: stores are out of supplies, roads are blocked for miles, pipes are bursting and whole neighborhoods without water, cars have run out of gas and passengers inside are miserably cold.
What to do when all infrastructure gives out?
My phone beeped again, a neighbor gathering men together to push cars out of the ditch on the highway outside our neighborhood. Pat layered up and set out in the dark, while I stayed up with the kids, wanting to have hot drinks or beds ready if anyone needed. Pat returned several hours later chilled through, having spent his evening pushing and pulling vehicles to safety, and checking on those inside cars.
And as I lay in the dark, I realized afresh a great truth:
Our greatest infrastructure as humans, is one another.
In a situation where the world shuts down for a time, we are one another’s hands and feet. We can carry each other, share with each other, and see that through our inter-connectedness, we all arrive safely home.
Community matters. And sometimes it takes a snowstorm to be reminded of it.