A snow day.
A seemingly innocent event in one’s life. Important but not overly remarkable.
When I woke up this morning to an unexpected one, I had no idea the thoughts it would cause to swarm in my head. I read somewhere (forgive me for the inability to credit the author) that places and spaces that allow us to go on auto-pilot and drown out the outside world are often where our most creative thoughts flourish. This is why we have our best ideas or revelations in the car, in the shower, or while lying in bed right before we drift off to sleep. Oddly enough, my thoughts you’ll read in this blog post started in the shower!
Back to this morning. Luckily, I got the email about work being cancelled the night before, so I was able to do the natural wake up instead of the hit-the-snooze-button-three-times-and-walk-to-the-bathroom-with-my-eyes-closed nonsense I usually deal with every weekday morning. My first destination was the window to check out the disappointing snow scene I was sure to find. But alas! I found a beautiful white blanket covering the outside world. My Georgia soul was full to the brim with excitement. Still in my pajamas, I threw on all of the cold weather gear I own (close to none) and rushed out the door.
Snowy mornings are a weirdly nostalgic thing. I read somewhere else (I’ve really got to start writing quotes down) how nostalgia can be a wish for something that hasn’t happened yet. It isn’t limited to things we remember from our past that we long for. It’s a deep yearning for something our soul wants desperately but it isn’t time yet. I very well could have romanticized that quote I’m remembering or attached another interpretation, but I just love that. I think many of us can relate to that strange feeling that takes your breath away and leaves you with stars in your eyes. It’s a bit like unrequited love I think. Longing for something you can’t have.
So basically, this snowy morning was a mixture of nostalgia and unrequited love that I still haven’t fully grasped yet. I’m so glad I took off one glove – oh the cold – to capture a couple of pictures of this veritable winter wonderland. My first thought was Narnia. Anyone who has read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis or seen the movie version understands what I mean. Quiet, haunting (in a good way…is that possible?), dark and light at the same time, cold but life-giving, white snow untouched and innocent, trees cloaked but still providing contrast to the stark absence of color. I felt such a deep appreciation for the change of my outside world. I guess the Pevensies felt the same way about Narnia..that longing for other.
On top of my deep and thoughtful reaction to the snow (ha ha), I also felt like a little kid again! What about snow just makes you feel young and free? I love seeing grown people throwing snow into the air with unadulterated glee and without caution falling onto the ground and making snow angels. It’s just fun. It gives you an opportunity to let go of whatever is filling up your mind or heart and replace it with SNOW. I can’t explain how it does that, but its uncanny power to distract and create memories is unparalleled.
Now, I want to stop my snow fan-girling for a second and discuss my husband’s experience over the same time period. Justin is a firemedic (firefighter/parademic). The night before Snow Day 2018, he was working his 24 hour shift 40 minutes away. During the night, he was up working. At 7:09am, he text me he was leaving work and coming home. An hour and a half later (remember I said 40 minutes away?), he arrived. Bad drivers, icy roads, and no sleep did not a happy husband make. I would like to point out that he somehow arrived with Chick-fil-a breakfast in hand. Something I did not mention because…chicken minis.
All that to say, when I see Narnia, he sees “an obstacle to overcome” (direct quote with a chuckle).
This got me thinking…about perspective.
It’s such an interesting topic, isn’t it? We all have one about every single thing. We all have a perspective, even on something as innocent as a snow day. In the scenario I just illustrated, Justin and I have a very different idea about what a snow day is, and I don’t think either of our views are wrong. The thing to consider most about how we and others see the world is the experiences that have been had.
I think our experiences really matter when it comes to defending our perspectives. Our views of life are shaped by what happens to us, and I don’t think you can minimize what causes one to feel a certain way or see life a certain way. Justin’s experiences with the snow day were much different than mine. If I had to do what he did, I would probably have a different perspective.
My initial reaction may be, “WHAT?! Ugh! How can you not be so excited by all the pretty snow?! Doesn’t it make you want to jump up and down and go play??”, while Justin is probably thinking, “I am so glad I made it home without careening into a ditch”. If our experiences were more aligned, maybe our perspectives would be too.
I know we all struggle with this. It’s why empathy is such a big part of authentic relationships. We have to set aside our own perspectives to understand or feel the experiences that shaped our counterpart’s perspective. Without doing this, we will always be at odds. We will always think we are right and the other person is wrong. There will always be a tension between perspectives because no two experiences are the same. Therefore, we have to be careful to not assume that our spouse is a Debbie Downer who doesn’t enjoy fun things like snow. Take a step back and think about the experiences behind the perspective. Maybe the empathy you extend will help your partner see the Narnia behind the “obstacle to be overcome”.