This isn’t about the movie, it is about my life right now. This weekend we had a good, old-fashioned snow storm. Impassable roads, closed schools, snow shoveling; the whole nine yards. The Princess was stranded out of town (someplace warmer) when her flight was canceled and I barely made it home from church. This sort of weather is uncommon in this corner of the world, not unheard of, but uncommon. As near as I can determine, this is the first snow day declared by the school district in this century. The storm was no joke. Of course, as previously mentioned I was out in it. First, because it takes A LOT for me to cancel church. I don’t think in my twenty years of ministry I have ever done it. Second,, because Disney Dog still loves to go on her walks. Interestingly, I have learned some things out and about in the frozen wasteland that is my home.
People are remarkably kind. I got stuck on the road about two blocks from home. I lost traction up the hill and just could keep going. A couple on the corner stopped what they were doing to help. She used the snowblower to give me some pavement and he pushed my car. Viola I was moving and home. They were not the only people out and about helping. I saw neighbors helping dig each other out. I saw City employees hopping off their snowplow to give others a push. I saw people out shoveling their sidewalks so kids could get to their bus stops and dog owners (me!) could get through.
I also found that those who were brave enough to be outside in the elements were a talkative bunch. “Keeping warm?” “Enjoying the snow?” and other honestly pointless comments are just a way to connect over the shared experience. For some basically human reason, we want to share the experience. We want to be with people who know what we are dealing with. It brings us together. The 16 people in church on Sunday morning did not dash out the door as soon as worship was over to get home before the weather got worse. They stayed and compared notes on their drive in, how much snow they had, and how fun it was to be a small group together in worship (We all sat together in the choir loft. It’s warmer.).
It is these shared experiences, what ever they may be that make us stronger. They make us view other people as no longer other. They make us a greater and wider We. This We has been through something together and has come out the other side. This We is bigger and stronger. This We has people in it who will always be bound by this experience. “Remember the storm of ’17…”
What we should be doing in finding these experiences in everyday life. We should be widening our circles and including people based on those things we all have in common and are less rare than snowstorms. We do that to some extent. We find those with similar interests. Disney fans, Trekkies, Comic book geeks, Hunters, Car guys, the list goes on and on. But what if we could connect more deeply? I am a Disney fan with a child heading off to college. How have other people gone through that? I am a Trekkie who lost my mom. Can I help you with your loss? So many things bind us together beyond the superficial. We need to be brave enough to connect beyond the surface and created a WE that isn’t afraid to talk about what’s important.
People are remarkably kind and they want to talk about their shared experiences. If we have courage, we can reach out and include everyone.