And while a snow day can be a gift and I am surely grateful for the extra time to reflect and relax, there comes a time when enough is enough.
Some people think snow is pretty. And, well... I guess :) But I have almost always seen it as inhibiting. I think of all the things that I can't do when there is snow: I can't drive anywhere. I can't get the things I wanted to get done accomplished. And right now I am sad because it may mean that I can't fly home to see my 92 year old grandmother this weekend.
I suppose this is part of my nature- to see the negative side of things- and it is something I have been working on the past decade or so. I'm getting better :) I have mentioned that one of my resolutions has been to be more positive in the present moment.
But I think that the way I view snow, is the way many of us view the Church. We think about what the Church says that we can't do. We feel inhibited, instead of the gift that the Church is.
In addition to trying to be positive in the present moment this year, I am trying to reflect on my salvation history with God. I have found this to be life-giving so far this Lent. I am taking time in my prayer to think about key moments in my life with God. Allowing Him to affirm me, and also to reflect on the promises we have made and carried out: our covenants.
As usual, my personal reflection crosses over with my work. Occupational hazard. I have been teaching my sophomores about Old and New Testament covenants. But the focus has helped me to, again, look at the promises God has made and fulfilled for me and (hopefully) encouraged them to reflect on the same in their own lives.
Another thing that Father encouraged me to do this Lent was to take some time to pray through my art. My art class for this Winter/Spring started last week, but last night we had the opportunity to do something in which I was able to apply my Lenten commitment.
The assignment/technique was to create symbols of importance to us in bold black paint and then to pick a favorite color to layer over that. And then go over again in another color layer.
The symbols I picked were very much part of my reflection on covenants. I thought of how light is always a sign of God's presence, so I was very much taken with the idea of a flame or candle. The candle (obvi) also represents baptism, where we first made our vows with God.
I also have been struck by the Noah story since I have been teaching it and reflecting on it in the liturgical readings lately. The symbol of water reminds of us Baptism, but water is also destructive in the story of the Flood. For me, the boat (ark) and water is a reminder of peace and also of trust. I think of the story where Jesus calms the water while on the boat because the apostles were frightened. That is the quintessential story of trust for me. And when we place our trust in God, it can bring great peace. Just like the peace we may feel when sitting calmly on a beach or a lake.
My friend and I always have commented that if you have water, sun, and a mountain you can find your "chi"...I have all of those things here :)
I was grateful for the opportunity to apply my Lenten reflection to an art lesson and I hope to continue this theme of promise and covenants throughout Lent.
What has God promised you? What have you promised Him? What are the signs He has given you as a part of this covenant? This is something I've been reflecting on with my students and I pass those questions onto you.