If you don’t mind a moment of inanity, I was privileged yesterday at the church’s sledding party to hold up the arch of an inflatable slide with my back. While this brought to mind several office conversations about Atlas (who was not, as I used to think, charged with holding up the earth but rather the heavens—perhaps a less impressive feat, as I have been holding up about 1 atm per day for my whole life myself) and turtles. I felt like a turtle there, come to think of it, on hands and knees while 3-year-old Shiloh climbed up and slid down.
The point is, it has been a long time since I have been nose-to-nose with a snowflake. Let me trace the thoughts I had, as I looked down upon the infinitesimal crystals beneath me:
“Don’t breathe too much, or they will melt.”
“We tramp upon flakes like these all the time, yet each one is unique and may never be seen again in the entire future story of the world.
“How can God make such uniqueness constantly? How incredible that there should be such intricacy, mostly unnoticed, all around us.
“We humans are also made as uniquely; think of the fingerprint. And yet, while no human could ever be aware of every other human alive, we are each important in our own ways. Time may trample us, but we each have a purpose.
“When I was a youth, I wondered how I could make myself as great as possible. Not that I was more ambitious than my peers—actually, I think I was less so. But we all dreamed of greatness: of fame, or glory, or recognition. Not so many of us have achieved it, of course. Yet life is not a disappointment, either. I suppose our dreams change.”
“Please don’t take a picture of my backside.”
“What has changed in my thinking, since those younger days? I think I used to see importance in terms of how much notice something or someone got. Attention was so important. Now, attention seems silly, but instead I’m interested in usefulness and meaning.
“God baptizes us with water, just like these snowflakes. Then, we are crystallized into a calling. And each of our callings is unique—each indispensable—each incredibly important. No one is unnecessary to God’s kingdom. Each person has been shaped and placed in an entirely original way. This intricacy makes us a body—makes us un-redundant—makes our faith a requirement of life. How terrible would it be to be needed desperately for something, and yet not even know it?”
“...My toes are cold.”
Happy sledding, everyone!