Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Icing on the...everything

Snowed in, in Texas.

We've been home together for 3 days now, Phil, me, two kids, two dogs, two grandparents who were lucky enough to make it here from Iowa before the storm. Enough togetherness, already!

I love snow. It revives my soul; it makes me feel "real" somehow--it's refreshing and invigorating and quiet and beautiful. Last March, the snow fell from the sky (which was rather close to us, in the mountains) at Holden Village, and landed on my soul.

But we're in Texas. Gimme a break. This is not snow, anyway--it's ice. Started as rain, turned to sleet, now is ice, threatening to break my tender little front-yard tree in half, its branches bent to the ground. My plants look plastic, perfectly formed and frozen in place.

This morning I had a graveside funeral service. The visitation last night was canceled, due to weather, so today was it. The 10 minutes it takes to say a prayer and read a lesson beside the hole in the ground, that's all this family got. Third funeral in this congregation's history, and it only lasted 10 minutes. We'll be doing a memorial service, I think soon, but the weather has gotten in the way of my role in the family's grief. Perhaps they notice it less than I do, but I don't feel that I've "done my job" for them (although I was rather impressed by the 40+ who showed up at the cemetary!). I'm accustomed to winter funerals, ground that is too hard for digging, feeling a bit self-conscious about wearing slacks to a funeral, wind howling around the church reminding you that you seriously do NOT want to leave your loved one out in that weather. But Texans are not used to wintry funerals, so we kept it simple and got back in our trucks. The roses will be frozen by now, beautifully preserved for a few hours until the thaw promised by tomorrow; then they, too, will be left on the ground.

And the miracle that is Texas meteorology and weather will bring us sunshine, 50 degrees, and a new outlook in only a couple of days. Hopefully that miracle will warm the hearts of a grieving family, as it will melt the leaves of my frozen tree. And maybe by then this grandpa will have received the balloon his great-grandchildren sent him today, floating up to heaven, through the icy sky.


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