I hate the snow

Pastoral Messages | January 31, 2019

Editor’s note: A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Sara Olson-Smith wrote about how she loves the snow. Pastor Katy Warren would like to offer a rebuttal.

I hate the snow. Hate is a strong word. Perhaps “very much dislike” would be a bit kinder. Some will speak of the peaceful, glistening beauty that comes with a fresh snowfall. Or the ways it’s necessary for a healthy climate. Which I won’t refute. But I still hate the snow.

Impending snow creates unsafe driving conditions, not to mention the pandemonium it causes in grocery stores. The slushy mess that’s left behind must single-handedly keep the car wash industry in business. It complicates travel plans. And a single snowflake might be pretty, but your back may not think so when you’re moving snow by the shovel-full. I’m happy to sing “Let it snow!” and dream of a winter wonderland in December. But by January 1st…I hate the snow.

And yet, as a friend reminded me earlier this week, “You can think the snow is terrible. But you’re just going to have more frustration and the same amount of winter.”

I refuse to use this space to sing winter’s praises. I wouldn’t dare. In the depths of this terrible spell of cold and snow, I can’t think of one nice thing to say about this season. But I am a firm believer that every situation presents an opportunity for learning and growth. So, here’s a few things snow might teach us:

First, it moves us to live with hope. As Christians, we live all year long as Easter people. That death would ultimately bring forth new life. That God promises to take the hurting, difficult parts of our lives and make them new again. While winter may well feel depressing and unending now, we know it’s not the end of the story. Thank goodness!

This must be why spring always follows winter. Because we survive winter year after year, we know what it’s like to live with genuine hope. Just as the words of Song of Solomon declare: “Look! The winter is past! The flowers appear on the earth and the time of singing has come.”

Snow also teaches us to be creatively grateful. Ideally, gratitude is a key part of the Christian life. But God doesn’t always instruct us on what we ought to give thanks for. Snow doesn’t have to fill you with joy and gladness. But we all can give thanks for the faithful workers who work through the night to plow our streets or the first responders who endure great risks to keep us safe.

I love snow about as much as I love preparing my taxes this time of year. But I also give thanks that our tax money pays for much needed street maintenance, social services, or school funding.

Finally, might I even suggest that we Midwesterners are better off because of this dreadful snow. Paul suggests in his letter to the Romans, “We boast in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.”

And oh what we’ve had to endure this season! So we’ll suffer together, friends. And hold out hope that spring is soon on its way.

-Katy Warren, associate pastor


17 Comments on “I hate the snow”

  • Mike Hessling

    February 3, 2019 at 5:35 am

    Well said Pastor Katy. After many years of living in Southern California I can tell you that having one season all year round is boring. The subtlety of seasonal change makes spring almost unnoticeable. Having come back to the Midwest and reacquainting myself with winter you really appreciate the rebirth of spring so much more, especially after a hard winter. That being said this household is ready for spring.

  • marvel asquith

    February 1, 2019 at 10:25 am

    I hate snow and this cold weather especially after being stuck inside mostly this week.
    but spring is such a blessing after all this.

  • Dick Hagglund

    February 1, 2019 at 10:10 am

    Or..you could wait out the cold in Florida (Venice)!!! However. You should
    see how “bundled up” the natives get when the high dips below 60. “Cold, appears, is indeed, a very subjective term.

  • Marcia Willi

    February 1, 2019 at 9:43 am

    I’m w/ Katy on this one. I am SICK OF all this snow and bitter temperatures. But hopeful for the re-emergence of spring! All the new growth. Please remain safe out there.

  • Donna Granneman

    January 31, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    I feel your pain, Pastor Katy …. To quote my precious daughter, Beth, as she trudged off to West High in January years ago. “I know Iowans tough it out through cold and snow and I know it’s part of the pioneer spirit. But, I’ve just about built all the character I will need for the rest of my life! I want to live where it’s warm! Present zip code …. San Diego!

  • Jim Case

    January 31, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Sorry Sara. I also have to agree with Katy. Like Matt and his awesome crew I am in charge of keeping my shop/office safe and clear of snow and ice. When I retire I can reminisce about the January of 2019 that broke records for snowfall and cold temps. I do love the beauty but not the work. I prefer endurance that comes from training for a triathalon. Much nicer weather.

  • Eric Engstrom

    January 31, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    First comparison of “snow” and “taxes” I have ever heard or read. I am amazed at all the firsts we share at St Paul.

  • John Cullett

    January 31, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    Well stated pastor. I am with you on the snow thing, I hate it too. Be safe stay warm.

  • David DeWit

    January 31, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    You’re singin’ my song Katie. If you could just sit inside and look out at it, it’s one thing. But if you have to go out and shovel a driveway, scrape snow and ice off a windshield, and take extra time in the morning to dress in enough layers to keep from freezing to death, it’s quite another.

  • Connie King

    January 31, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    “O wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” – – Percy Blythe Shelley

  • Ila Jean Rock

    January 31, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    “God gave us a memory so there could be roses in January”

    ” First, it moves us to live with hope…….” Yes! My main reason for liking/enduring winter is SPRING. Then here’s my “creative gratitude” list of reasons I like winter: corduroy jeans, fleece pajamas and sheets, soup, hot chocolate, fireplaces, good books…..

    • Diane Nauman

      February 1, 2019 at 9:04 am

      Well expressed, Ila.
      How BORING it would be to live in a “1-season” environment. Let it snow……….Then, let Spring arrive in all it’s soft beauty and wonder! 🙂

  • Stella Herzig

    January 31, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    I tried to see a silver lining in that this polar vortex will kill off the dreaded ’emerald ash borer’ pest killing our ash trees, but i liked being reminded to be thankful in this other way when you said: ” But I also give thanks that our tax money pays for much needed street maintenance, social services, or school funding.”
    Thank you, Katy! It was beneficial for me to be reminded of that! Peace be with us all.

  • Pat and Georgia

    January 31, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Georgia and I feel your pain Katy. So much so that we evacuated the area and fled with Jim and Jan Schmidt to warmth of South Texas for the winter.
    God bless, as soon the trees will bud, the birds will sing, and we’ll head home.

  • Sarah Thomas

    January 31, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    I’ve heard about the winter of 1936 most of my life. We can pass on the story of the Polar Vortex of 2019!

  • Tom Hebbeln

    January 31, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    I agree with Sara! Until my driveway gets plowed in.

  • Larry Price

    January 31, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    Pastor Katy…I agree that, like you I do not enjoy the problems that snow causes, but in defense of that, it’s a blessing that, with winter, it brings about all the glories of spring. With each season, we find ways to love each season and see the grace of what God has given us.

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