Stuck on a Snow Day
142.7—Bring me out of this prison, so that I may
give thanks to your name…
It was about 1 pm yesterday when, through the hushed
purple and gentle golden stained glass windows in my
study, I noticed the snow. Flakes were falling fast
and with purpose as they soared through the sky. A
dusting quickly turned into a covering, and streets
already paved with ice became consumed by snow.
Despite living mere blocks away from my favorite
building in Lincoln, I knew I needed to get home
quickly. When your vehicle of choice is a rear-wheel
drive Chevy pick up truck, you have just moments
between the accumulating inches of snow to get where
you need to be. Otherwise, your chances of getting
stuck increase exponentially.
despite my best intentions,
as well as my ability to
nimbly navigate in wintery weather
I made it all the way to my house
before I got stuck.
After 30 minutes of spinning my tires, rocking and
rolling, I was eventually rescued by a thoughtful
neighbor, and was able to free my tiny truck. I
waded through the white snow, turned black by this
point with the stench of rubber on its surface, and
made it the 15 feet into my garage.
That moment of being stuck was frustrating. I was so
close, and yet, so far away. Despite employing all
the necessary tactics, and taking my time so I could
arrive safely, still I managed to get stuck. My
adrenaline was pumping and my heart racing as I
tried and tried and tried to complete this journey
on my own.
Being stuck is no fun. There is perhaps no worse
feeling than being trapped or fastened to some
facet of life. Looking out my writing room
window, I see cars buried in snow; neighbors
un-sticking themselves with shovels and snow
blowers; and I see something else too. Just
beyond the trees that hang heavy with snow, past
the intersection glistening with ice, there is a
reminder sparking in the soft snow. From the
window I see an opportunity to stop:
to stop wanting to be unstuck;
to stop wishing for warmer weather;
to stop pondering how problematic these winter
weather patterns have been
and to begin just being.
Being “stuck” has made me realize that
life isn’t so much about progress as it is about process. Spring
will have its day. We know that it will come: but winter needs hers
as well. Soon the sun will shine and the warmer weather will return,
and we will be liberated from being stuck. But we must not hurry
these forced days off so quickly. Having to slow down provides us
the occasion to engage in activities for which we often don’t have
time. We can drink our coffee more deliberately. We can take our
time working the crossword puzzle in the paper. And we can do the
difficult work of stopping rather than starting; stalling rather
than moving—learning that perhaps one cannot happen without the
Maybe being stuck is necessary to being unstuck, maybe acting cannot
happen without listening first.
When we’re stuck, what is the world trying to reveal to us?
When we’re stuck, what is your soul speaking to your personhood?
When we’re stuck, what is God bringing forth in your beautiful
Poet Wendell Berry said this about Winter,
“Suppose we did our work
like the snow, quietly, quietly,
leaving nothing out.”
friends, put your arms around your soul, embrace the anguish that
comes with being stuck, and respond to your summons from God. Get
ready for the adventure of growing into the next part of your life.
Getting stuck is worth whatever angst you must go through just so
you can hear God say to you,
"Hang on, you are about to get unstuck."
[Adam Quine, First
Presbyterian Church, Lincoln]