Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Walk In The Snow

Inspired by a story I heard on the radio a few years ago during a snow storm. The teller was the now grown little boy...

There was a blizzard in the Metro Detroit area where a little boy lived with his family. Michigan blizzards are nothing to be sneezed at and this one was a whopper by comparison. Everything was closed; schools, businesses and government. The snow had fallen for hours and hours and was several feet high. Knowing there would be a snow day, the caller was happily snuggled into his childhood bed when shortly after midnight he awoke to hear his parents low voices in the kitchen.

The young man went downstairs and asked what they were doing. His mother was packing his father's lunchbox and pouring coffee into a large thermos. His father worked in a steel mill and knew he'd have to leave the house by 1:00 a.m. to make it through the snow for the start of his shift. He had called the man he carpooled with and they had agreed to meet a few blocks away and walk toward the nearest main street hoping that the bus was running. There was no way to dig out their cars and the snowplows were not expected for a few days.

And so the child's father left the house bundled up beyond recognition to begin his long walk to the bus stand. The little boy and his mom watched from the living room window until they couldn't see his dad for the blowing snow. Then they knelt at the couch to pray for he and his friend during their walk and to thank God for the job they were walking to.

The little boy went back to bed and the next morning he and his brothers enjoyed the promised snow day with their mother making cookies and planning a warm supper for their father with the surprise of cookies for dessert.

When his father walked through the front door at 7:00 p.m., he was later than his usual return from work at 4:00. They knew the roads were still covered and snow and so weren't really worried. When dad finally unwrapped his layers of coats and scarves and put away his empty lunch box and rinsed out his empty thermos, he told his family about his day.

He and his friend had walked for five hours to get to the bus stand just in time to catch the bus to their factory. Luckily, they had both had the foresight to take their snow shovels as they had to clear their path the entire way. When they arrived at the bus stand, it was silent and covered in mountains of snow. The main thoroughfare hadn't been cleared. There was no traffic. After standing there for half an hour with fingers crossed, they realized the bus wasn't running.

And so the man and his friend began second leg of the long and cold walk. Not back home, but to the steel mill. They walked for hours and hours clearing the path and stopping to share their thermos of coffee. They walked until almost lunch time but finally arrived to find the factory locked up and silent. The blizzard had even shut down the steel mill, something that had never happened before. The third part of the journey now began; back home the way they had come. The father told his family how this was a much easier walk because the blowing snow had settled and they had already cleared the path. They ate their lunches on the steps of the factory before they started back. They were grateful that they had both brought a thermos of coffee because they enjoyed the warmth of the second one as they walked home.

The little boy added the hours up and realized his father had spend sixteen hours walking for nothing. He said to his dad, "Boy, you must be mad! You should never have even gone to work today!"

The father looked at his family and gently corrected his son. "No, I was scheduled to work today and it was my job to be there. As it was, I would have been terribly late. What if the factory was running? What if I had not showed up and the men who had made their way in through the snow were sent home because of me? God was good enough to build that factory and give me a job to do there. I will be there to work. God will decide the rest. This was a good day. Now I must get to bed because I have to work tomorrow."

That story took place over forty years ago. Today the United States looks around in confusion and wonders what has happened to us.

I look around and see very few people who would've made that walk, myself included.

The answer is clear.

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