Sunday, January 6, 2013

of snow and enough

At some point in my life years ago when I still lived in Georgia and snow days were rare treats that stopped the world no matter how thin the layer of white that covered the world for a few brief hours, I established a "first snow" tradition.

I started the teapot, grabbed a cozy blanket, and settled in with a warm drink to watch Little Women. The movie opens in snow, it seems only fitting for it to be a snow day movie. 

As I moved north to climates far less infatuated with flurries, the first snow rarely stopped the world. Life went on and the normal responsibilities took their normal time plus some on those snowy days. There was no time for movies or hot cocoa.  I'd still watch the movie during the winter, as close to the first snow as I could, enjoying my time in the lives of the March girls once more. 

I returned home to Philadelphia yesterday after a holiday spent in Georgia. I'd heard there had been snow while I was away, but little remained but the small hills that plows had pushed to the curbs and under shade. When I woke up this morning I began my normal routine for the day and was shocked when I walked by the window to discover a light blanket of white outside. Just a little, maybe an inch or less. Nothing to make my "fourth northern winter" brain think the world would operate anything but normally because of it.  

I was presented with a golden opportunity. A snowfall. A quiet apartment. No immediate tasks to accomplish. I grabbed a mug one of sisters-in-law had given me for Christmas (perfect "wrap your hands around" size), a blanket that was a gift from a friend, and settled into the couch for the familiar sounds of the introductory music to Little Women. 

One of the earliest scenes in the movie centers around a Christmas breakfast feast. 

Jo is joyful about the sausage. Amy holds on the orange like a prize and exclaims, "Isn't butter divinity?!"  Hannah, the one who made the feast, tells them that their mother has gone out to see to a local family - a woman with six children who are living in poverty. Beth suggests to send the family their bread, Jo releases the butter for it is no good without bread, Meg simply picks up the tray of sausages to add to the gift, and Amy relinquishes her prized orange. 

The past few years I have heard of people focusing on "One Word" for a year. I never really had a word that struck me as one I should consider undertaking until this year. I've wrestled with the word for a bit, trying to reason  that there are better ones, but it has stuck. My word is "enough." I've started curating a pin board to keep up with my thoughts connected the word. It has already spun into a hundred different directions in my head and I hope to share some of those here throughout the year. One, no two, of those directions I saw echoed in that breakfast scene with the March girls. 

First, I've been thinking about feasting. In order for something to be a "feast" it must be more than what it is normal. Our society is obsessed with excess and I'd say that for many of us, for something to look like a feast it must be over-the-top. In the March girls excitement about butter and sausages and oranges I see that call to a simpler life. One where your daily-bread is enough. One where luxuries are just that, luxuries. For then, when we have the days of feasting, of more-than-enough, they are times indeed to rejoice. There has been much more swirling about in my head the past few months about fasting and feasting and the simplicity and "enoughness" of our food and meals and the impact of that on our health, our spirit, our economy, our community, and creation. Hopefully I'll get those into thoughtful words this year.

Second, our more-than-enough can often meet someone else's "not enough." (And, our "more than enough" is defined by our perspective on what is enough.) We cannot meet all needs. Feasting is ordained by God and has a special place in the lives of humans and in community. However, if I pray only, "Lord, feed the hungry" and not "Lord, show me how to meet the needs of the hungry" I am missing something.

That light blanket of unexpected snow this morning was enough to get me to slow down for a couple of hours. My prayer for this year is that my eyes will be open to all the "enough" around me. And, also, that my heart be sensitive and spirit willing to address the "not enough" whether it's not enough of something in my life or in the lives of others. 

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