Early this week, before the fresh, clean dusting of snow fell, I was aware that we have entered that time of year when the snow that blanketed our streets and yards has melted in such a way to reveal what is buried beneath. As I walk my usual paths in our neighborhood, it is common to see a mitten half frozen in dirty snow. Down the street further a discarded bottle sticks its neck out of an icy snowbank. Once you begin noticing, it is impossible to stop until before you know it, all you see is the debris that lies beneath.
The other evening my husband and I began our evening walk as the sun was setting. This meant that by the time we returned to our home it was dark. Our eyes had adjusted as we walked and so when we came upon a black mound in the street I started to reach down to pick it up only to be stopped by his:"Don't think about it!" We walked on, the black mound a forever secret.
I have the desire to clean up the messes I see. If there is a piece of trash along the road, I might pick it up and later deposit it in a can I find along the way. The single glove along the sidewalk might have special significance and so hanging it from the bare limb of a tree makes perfect sense to me. Not too long ago we found a wallet in a mall parking lot, its contents flung with abandon around and under a car. We carefully picked up the random cards, ID's and driver's license and tried, we hope successfully, to return them to their rightful owner. It was, in part, an act of saving them from being buried beneath the next snowfall.
This season, with its ugliness and dirty face, becomes a great life metaphor. So much can be buried beneath the surface of our lives that needs to be uncovered, used, even celebrated. Still other things are beneath the surface because they bring us such pain. Digging them out of the snowbank requires confronting parts of who we are that we don't like to own.The hope is that 'out of sight, out of mind' will work. The wisdom of years most often proves this not to be true. Those experiences, thoughts, feelings, that are buried always find a way to work their way out of their discarded home.
May each of us have the courage today to look beneath the surface for what is buried. As we reach down to bring what we have found into the light, may we be held by the One who has promised to never let us go, the One who loves us unconditionally. Today, tomorrow, always.
"I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have loved you and you are mine." Michael Joncas, Jeremiah 31:3