Snow in Houston: the Gift of the Delightful Surprise

Snow in Houston: the Gift of the Delightful Surprise December 8, 2017

21297958-7356-48C7-812C-5B7463FF3BE0College could wait, so could every other class at The Saint Constantine School. Snow came to Houston and it was glorious to see kids attempt a snowman who had (almost) never touched snow. There was so little of the stuff that snowballs all ended up tiny and hard to toss, but it was glorious, gloppy, and grand. Houston needed some fun weather.

We cursed the weather with Harvey, a deluge that had us considering an ark, but today was a delightful surprise.

This was in part, because the snow is fairly rare, unexpected, and here just before the Christmas Hols when snow on the wreaths seems right, but hardly ever happens in Houston! Such larks!

Of course, partly this was attitude. The commute was slower and one way to respond was to grumble or worry, but if I heard about surliness on the news, there was little in evidence in our little community. The weather was jolly and so were we, surprised by snow.

Too often nothing surprises us, because we drive date into our day’s schedule so that nothing can take us by surprise. We anticipated the snow and made plans to overcome it as we do every other obstacle in the way.

After all, there is the kind of person who views getting out the Christmas decorations as a chore already looking forward to the task of putting them away again. Somehow the calander function of their device has penetrated their soul and every day is a check list. For this sad soul, the snow was an impediment to the march through the day.

This is a weary, even inhuman way to live. We must do our work, but surely a moment, even an entire minute, to muck about in the snow is not too much to ask? I felt like we had gotten snow right and so we had.

Hurrah for us!

Then the old habit of Socratic questioning hit me: “What about the routine awesomeness?” Today Hope brought me a cup of coffee, a deed she often does, unbidden and that now, if I am not careful, I will expect. I don’t even get far enough to think: “Of course, this good thing came . . .” The “of course” makes a gift into a duty and changes her free choice to an expectation on my part.


Worse, however, is not even to notice, but take the good gift so thoughtlessly that it does not even rise to a duty fulfilled. Her good gift becomes like air, just there, because of course it is.


I need to be mindful of the expected good and not just of the unexpected, best I can. In a free and loving relationship whatever is done for me is a good gift and gratitude is the only appropriate response! How can I ever demand her love, attention, or anything. She is a soul created in God’s image with a free will and all that is given is an act of that will and freedom. It is a bit of divinity and nothing to be demanded.

The snow came just as the rain. The rain was too much, but we made the best of it, not the worst. The snow came and was just right (in our area and we made a party of that, but every day friends are friendly, family familial, and colleagues collegial: all a glorious free gift that cannot be demanded and must never be taken for granted.

Can I stop, be mindful of this, and be thankful without ceasing? Or do I have more important things to do as I gradgrind my way with grim determination to the next event, missing the glory for the grave task of checking a box on my phone.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. The list is endless and today is not that special. Thank you. And God be praised, we really enjoyed the snow.

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