Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
I love the image that verse brings up. The crackle and hiss of the fire, a warm cup of coffee or cocoa, pensive eyes reflecting the dancing flames…It doesn’t matter if it’s in a real fireplace, on a TV screen, or even outside at a bonfire, the existence of a roaring fire invites, really all but demands, rest and reflection.
The song’s verse implies that this moment of fireside repose is spontaneous, unplanned, thanks to a clear schedule and well-timed snow fall. Unfortunately, those moments are few and far between in my life, and I’m thinking probably yours as well. For me, moments of rest and reflection are almost never spontaneous. On a good day they have to be purposefully planned and protectively executed. On a bad day they have to be fought for and conquered.
At the end of every year I ask God for a word or phrase as a theme for the upcoming year. For 2019 my word is Provide. Not that I will provide, but that He will. This implies that I will need…something. Probably many somethings. I don’t like to need, so I have a feeling there may be a low level of chronic discomfort coming my way as I wrestle with laying down my self-sufficiency and allowing needs to be met by others.
I do know that one thing I need to provide myself is daily time of reflection. Late last year, in a light bulb moment, I realized part of the reason I can’t shut my brain off while trying to fall asleep is that I don’t give it time to process during the day. When I don’t slow down earlier, I pay for it later. And the next day, too. Mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical health require rest and reflection.
And so, I am creating the habit of taking 5-10 minutes each evening, no matter how late it is, to sit in my favorite chair to pause, and look, and listen, and record a few thoughts about the day in my One Line a Day journal. Thanks to modern technology and the interwebs there may even be a crackling fire in the background, through a YouTube video on my phone.
The bottom line is even without frightful weather, a cozy fire, or a clear schedule, provide yourself a moment of reflection whenever you can, however you can.
It doesn’t show signs of stopping, and I’ve bought some corn for popping
The lights are turned way down low, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
When you think of dim lights and popcorn, I’m going to guess your next thought is the same as mine – movies! I’ve been married to a farmer for 29 years now. One thing about farmers is they tend to be more News, Markets, and Weather Channel people than HBO, AMC, and Hallmark. I didn’t grow up in a big movie watching family either, so my husband and I didn’t really begin seriously watching movies until our oldest son, Matt, was born in 1998. We christened it our Disney/Pixar phase and have enjoyed it immensely. Many of our family in-jokes are based on lines and scenes from those animated movies.
We were just about to begin introducing Matt to Big Boy movies—you know them as live action--when his younger brother, Nathan, came along. So, for family movie night we had to continue watching animated movies longer than he’d have liked. We tried watching a family movie and then, after Nathan went to bed, popping in a Big Boy movie, but only managed to pull that off twice. Matt’s now away at college and we are beginning to watch with Nathan the movies we would have shown Matt. He does admit to being a little bitter. Nathan is okay with this.
A couple of weeks ago Nathan watched It’s a Wonderful Life for the first time (he says he enjoyed it but didn’t really get it). We are watching the Harry Potter movies as he reads the books. I’m looking forward to seeing the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies with him, and eventually sharing those ‘80s films his dad and I grew up on.
But it really took attempting to write a screenplay and working with film makers to get me personally into really watching movies. I have a running list of movies I should see, and ones I’d like to see.
Early last year I wanted to watch Roman Holiday, with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. I was fairly certain I was the only one in my family who had any interest in this movie. It has been my habit that if no one else wanted to watch a movie I wanted to see, I watched in the bedroom so as to leave the living room TV open to news and video game enthusiasts. This time, however, I rebelled. Darned if I didn’t pop that movie into the good DVD player, fire up the surround sound, and watch it all by myself in the big living room and leave the rest of the house to the rest of the family. Before the final credits rolled, two of the three other people in my house asked who I was and what I had done with Mom. I was okay with that. I will continue to be okay with that. So long Disney/Pixar, it’s Debbie time.
When we finally kiss goodnight, how I’ll hate going out in the storm
But if you really hold me tight, all the way home I’ll be warm
My brain runs in a constant state of three steps ahead. I’m forever forward-thinking, anticipating, looking for what’s coming. This is great for planning and organizing, caring for my family and friends, but makes it difficult to be really present in the moment.
We encounter the world through our five senses. I’ve found that, for myself anyway, my sense of smell takes me backward. Smells trigger memories. Cologne, dirt, and baby powder bring up images and emotions from my past.
The sense of taste is connected to smell, and is both past (I’ve enjoyed this taste before) and present (and I still enjoy it now). No wonder I love eating…
The sense of sight is present but also forward, future. We check a map, scan our schedule, peer down the road. Sight is about where we are now with a nod to where we are going.
Sound really encompasses past and present for me, but in a cerebral, ethereal way. Whether it’s the hum of the refrigerator, music from the radio, or loved ones’ voices, sounds originate outside ourselves and come to us to be internalized.
The sense of touch, though…nothing brings you back to the present like touch. If I’m cold, it’s difficult to focus on anything else. I can close my eyes and ears, a virus can stuff up my nose and mess up my taste and smell, but touch is always there. Whether it’s a searing pain as you step on a Lego in bare feet or burn your finger on a hot pan, a bruising ache as you stub your toe, an itch in the middle of your back that you just cannot get to, a warm hug or gentle caress, a touch has the power to stop time.
Perhaps that’s part of the reason I love hugs. A touch brings you back to the present when your head seems forever stuck in the future.
The fire is slowly dying, and my dear we’re still goodbyeing
But as long as you love me so, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
Thank you for joining me in a little snowy repose.
Creating Courageous Kindness
I love to read comments and know how my work is helping you. Please respond with your first AND last names. Anonymous comments will not be read and may be deleted.