Six Takeaways From the Storm

This weekend’s snowstorm is the talk of social media, local and national news outlets, and probably some international news outlets as well. The local newspaper does not have a snowfall total for Clifton, but nearby towns report amounts in the high teens and low twenties. It seems safe to say that we received at least twenty inches.

unitedstates_vir_2016023_lrg
The storm from space (Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards)

That’s not the largest snowfall in this area. In my lifetime the January 1996 storm gets that award. This storm will be remembered, nonetheless, mostly because of its size and because of records that it shattered and havoc that it wreaked on its way to New Jersey.

Here’s what I take away from the storm.

  1. We got a chance to see our neighbors. Most of the time we come and go and take little notice of each other aside from a wave or a shout of “Hi.” The need to spend time outside—we shoveled our walks three times and our driveway apron twice—meant that we saw more of our neighbors and actually had a chance to engage in some conversation. I’m grateful for one neighbor who offered to use his snowblower on our driveway, an offer we turned down. I’m also grateful for the other neighbor who turned down our offer of help to shovel her driveway. Her brother was on her way with his snowblower.
  2. Disruptions like this offer opportunities to catch up on reading or other fun stuff. I finished reading G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. Don’t ask me if I understood it all. I think I would need to read it several more times to absorb his arguments.
  3. Shoveling deep snow is hard work. I’m grateful that Jody and I were able to manage all of our own snow removal with shovels, but my arms and back will be sore for a few days. More so than they were twenty years ago after that January’s big snow. It’s probably time to think about some regular exercise to maintain upper body strength. This storm was a good reminder of that.
  4. Storms are always a reminder of the power and sovereignty of The Almighty. In Job 38 and 39, after listening to a long discussion about why Job is suffering as he is, God asks a series of questions about humanity’s ability to control the natural world. They include this one: “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow? 
  5. What’s in a name? The name given to this storm is the Greek equivalent of the name Jonah. When he tried to flee to Tarshish in a boat, a great storm arose and Jonah was tossed into the sea to avert the calamity. This really has nothing to do with the snowstorm, but it’s interesting that the folks at the Weather Channel would choose Jonas as the name for a major winter storm.
  6. Big storms, and the damage they leave in their wake, remind us that the the earth’s atmosphere has warmed considerably in the last 100 years or so. Contrary to what one might think, big snowstorms are evidence of climate change. So are the floods that coastal storms cause.

We’re grateful that the storm was not worse than it was, we’re grateful that we are healthy enough to deal with the cleanup, we’re grateful that our electricity, and especially Jody’s Mom’s electricity, stayed on, and we’re grateful for the people who plowed, spread salt, drove emergency vehicles, and in other ways managed the effects of the storm for the local government entities. We pray for those who have suffered loss because of the storm. We wish you well, dear reader, as you manage the effects of the storms in your life. As always, thanks for stopping by.

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