A promise of snow

Autumn whirls by like a flutter of leaves emancipated from the backyard by a rake, lifted and swirling in one iridescent moment of final glory, and then gone forever into the black plastic of a lawn bag. Long night shifts caring for sick strangers, hockey practice, first flurries of snow. The week hurtles on and I don't pause to write or hardly to think. The incomparable adrenaline laced rush of joy after physical accomplishment washes over me and drowns me in happiness after hockey practice. Nine years of having babies, and I can still stop a puck and have fun out on the ice with a group of women. 

My friend from afar is in Ecuador, meeting children helped through the Compassion International program. It is a hard thing to have a missionary's heart and not bend to the constant plea of so many people. But in uncertain times, when we are making budget cuts $10 at a time, that $38 a month seems like a large commitment, especially when so important and a must every month for that one family. All kinds of things fly through my mind, my doctoral degree, so expensive - really necessary? Well, yes, if we're going to go to Central America and start a nursing school. The winter boots for kids - should I have looked longer at thrift stores in search of cheaper options? Well, no, not when the snow is already falling. What about hockey? How much money do you spend just to rediscover an old joy?

It's hard to be the bud holding promise of next spring, a handful of snowflakes to water the earth when the frozen times are done. Yet this is what young families often do, hold the snowflakes to point to the thaw. We are still growing and learning, learning this one income life, learning what it takes to be a missionary, stem frozen in time by cancer and encephalitis. We can't go yet. We will go one day, to the vast reaping fields. The fields holding the promise for the spring yet to come. They will still be there when we are ready...for the poor you'll always have with you. Perhaps that is one of God's great and incomprehensible gifts: a world where we stay in touch with our poverty. For without a visual picture of poverty, if every man were rich, would we really keep needing God? Not until the grave's doorstep, when we finally realize we can't take it with us. Money is just a dusting of snow on frozen ground...the promise of food for this life while we wait for the next. Autumn holding spring's thaw.

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