catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 10, Num 2 :: 2011.01.28 — 2011.02.10


Sitting out Snowmageddon

The weatherman and Jack Frost collaborated to predict and pull off an epic snowstorm last year.  And I sat it out in a hotel around the corner from my home, happily ensconced for days in a cozy chair with Bible, books, favorite pen and notebooks, while my family enjoyed the legendary, two-foot snowfall in ways they are still crowing about.

As power went out in Washington, D.C. and much of the mid-Atlantic region, others scrambled to check into the Hilton Garden Inn with prices no doubt skyrocketing as rooms became scarce.  I could see the families walking down the narrow road to this hotel from my perch above the front door, disgruntled that they would need to spend money and be away from the comforts of home and familiar neighbors. Weariness and crankiness were in evidence, from only the most cursory of glances their way. 

Yet I had had a reservation for a couple of weeks, and I had longed for the day when I would drive myself the two miles to hole up for three days and simply be quiet, alone with God, my thoughts and myself (a most welcome trinity).

And in fact when the appointed day arrived, and predicted snow with it, I left home a couple of hours before the 3 p.m. check-in time to be sure that I wouldn’t get snowed in at home and not reach my destination.  I would wait in the lobby if I needed to.  I was a desperate woman, needing God’s voice more than I needed any more family fun, needing retreat and solitude more than I needed any first-hand experiences or memories of the storm that President Obama christened “Snowmageddon.”

I adore my family, and we have a lot of fun together.  We cook; we eat; we play games; we talk and walk.  I consider us close.  I even consider us a safe family, one in which it’s fine to admit that you can’t handle any more family time.  In short, staying home would have been its own sort of pleasure.  I was not going away to avoid anything unpleasant but simply to find that one needful thing Jesus praised Mary for seeking and Martha for underappreciating.

There are times when even the most glorious of activities is unappealing, when even a party in one’s honor would feel like torture.  World-weary and burned out as I was, sitting out Snowmageddon was the best thing I could have done for my winter sanity, for my spiritual and emotional health, and even (or especially?) for my family’s sake.

As the supplies of Cheerios and orange juice dwindled at the Hilton Garden Inn, and as I tucked into the Power Bars and apples I had brought along should local restaurants be inaccessible or closed (they were both), I felt that I was feasting.  As the stories from home came by telephone, I celebrated all the fun that the family was having (and felt delighted that I was not part of it).  As the photographs surfaced as evidence of said fun, I laughed and looked (and was thrilled that I was not in them).  I was one content woman.

There’s something very freeing about growing up and realizing that there will be other epic events that I will want to be a part of (or that perhaps there won’t, even) but that I can sit one out when I need to, with impunity and without angst and without regret.

There’s beauty in realizing what we need and when we need it and in taking steps to see that it happens, even if our choice betrays all usual notions of the value of family togetherness and challenges conventional concepts of what’s fun and what’s not.

Winter has its charms.  Sometimes that involves snowballs and snowmen and hot chocolate and hours spent playing Settlers of Catan by the fire with those we love. 

At other times the most alluring package we can dream up involves a reservation at a generic chain hotel, packaged food and solitude in room 302.

your comments

comments powered by Disqus