Wednesday, February 28, 2018

I love winter!!!

I love the beach. The rolling in of the waves, the salty water, the smell, the warm sand. But my other happy place is a snowy forest in the winter.

The suddenly visible animal tracks, total silence when all sounds are muddled by snow and clouds. The magic of coming upon a running stream surrounded by frozen nature. The nip of the wind on your face while the rest of you is bundled. The promise of a warm fire and toasty beverage when you return. The fresh snow on your tongue. The magic floof of falling backwards into a snowbank.

It didn't occur to me that I was allowed to love winter until a few years ago. I ran into someone who was, at the time, the youth pastor at my church. I walked by him on the sidewalk and we greeted one another. We    had one of those typical complainy conversations about how it was getting cold and then he said something that I'd never heard before.

"I need to be careful to not complain too much about the winter. Cold weather gives a lot of people life."

"Oh my gosh," I thought. "I AM ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE!"

There is a simple joy to burrowing under a thick blanket with cozy socks and a hot beverage. And in these final days of it, I raise my hot beverage to winter. I will miss you my friend. You are a balm to my soul, a slowing down in a too busy world. The antidote to the mania of summer. See you next year.

(P.S. Please bring way more snow.)

Monday, February 26, 2018

[Driving lessons] or [The water we swim in is different]

When I learned to drive, I learned a lot more than just how to operate a vehicle. Before I could learn how to safely get from point A to point B, I had to learn a lot about the "safely" part.
  1. Before going outside, get your keys in your hand. It’s best to have a remote. 
  2. Watch carefully as you go to your car. Is anyone following you? Is anyone near your car? Glance under the car and in the backseat as you approach. Is it dark outside? Up your alertness times ten. 
  3. Unlock your car when you are within sight of it. Get in quickly, immediately shut and lock the doors. 
  4. While you are driving, be aware. Is anyone following you? If you suspect you are being followed, do not drive home and avoid isolated roads. (I cannot tell you how many times I have driven past my street just to be sure that the car wasn’t following me.)
These four safety rules were ingrained so deeply that I stopped thinking about them. They became part of my automatic settings for using a car, like buckling my seatbelt. 

As an adult, I was riding somewhere with Caleb and observed that he did not lock his doors immediately upon entry. This surprised me, so I commented on it. In our conversation that followed, I realized that these driving rules didn't apply to every teenager who learned to drive. 

There was a lot of buzz last year surrounding #MeToo sweeping the nation. I think it's important to know that this fits into it. I don't know statistics, but I do know that if I ever have a daughter, I will teach her these rules. I wish I didn't have to, but I will. And I will teach my son. Because though the water we swim in is different, we need to keep working to understand how. (Including me)