When the snow starts to fall in Portland, a very rare event, I have the experience of living Romans 7 between my head and my heart. My head looks at the weather predictions, sees the cars driving past, knows the youth of my car, and estimates the simple journey to my destination. My heart just beats louder and louder as I flash back to three Christmases ago as I drove for 7 hours in the snow attempting to get home and arriving only at The Dalles. My feet, a Switzerland in the midst of the rising battle, are stuck, already in their laced up tennis shoes and assuming that we are all heading out to church and then soccer this afternoon. But since no body part can dominate the rest (a bit of 1 Corinthian experience), I remain standing at the window, staring at the lovely snowflakes fall down and wishing some part of me would win already.
Finally the snow lets up, the blue skies part and I’m freed to drive to church and listen to a sermon on vocation. Pastor Rick spoke about that calling we all hear for our lives that can get drowned out by pursuit of the American Dream, the corporate ladder, and that picture perfect retirement destination. Ironically I am reading a book on this same topic right as well as teaching on spirituality in the midst of the everyday, so his words resonate with other thoughts I’ve been having and a drive to not only seek out a larger life for myself but also for my students. At no point in the sermon, or in my reflections, does the focus shift to abandoning all to run away to France. Instead it is about seeing the ministry and worship within the everyday, to seeing the brothers and sisters who are waiting in the next office or car lane over in need of a bit of mercy or joy. I work on my scarf and smile silently as God brings together a few more threads in my wondering heart. And I am grateful for those blue skies that allowed me to come today.
With no one to visit with after church I bundle up to head for soccer but meet the view through the windows first. Snowflakes are again cascading down; beautiful and terrifying. My mind again goes to my phone, my heart again beats louder, and my feet still remain for 10 minutes, not knowing which way to turn. This time the skies do not let up in time; I make a break for home and warmth and the promise I won’t be stuck 72+ blocks from home. I wish I was stronger than this memory, that by willpower I could change the direction my feet are now headed, but this is who I am for right now: she who fears driving in snow.
In 5 minutes I will have missed all of soccer for this week, a fact I truly regret. So instead I am focusing on the mercy this experience shows as well: there will be another small group gathering for soccer next week and I can enter those doors without penance or fear. I am welcome there, just as I was welcome in the church this morning to learn about calling, and I am welcomed home by candles, blankets, chai, and a bit of Once Upon a Time.
It looks like I was given two sermons today.