“So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing?”
Matthew 6:25 (New Living Translation)
Lavender Mornings and Periwinkle Nights
I hate the snow. I really hate the snow. Let me qualify that a little. I hate driving in the snow. When I get up on a workday and look out the window and there is snow for me to contend with, tears come to my eyes as I anticipate the stress of getting to work that day. Stress caused by the multitude of drivers on the roads that don’t appear to recognize that snow creates a condition requiring a slower and more cautious pace of travel. Stress caused by knowledge that I am going to be honked at for quite some miles as I make my way to work. Stress caused by the feeling that it just doesn’t seem right to risk my life to get to work, but that is the reality and the way of life today. Everything may be sacrificed for work. Work is top priority in this 24/7 world.
I was lucky this past Thursday. It had snowed enough Wednesday that school was closed the following day. Since it had taken me an hour and a half to get home from my job at the school district the night before (and generally, it would take 25 – 30 minutes), I breathed a great sigh of relief when the call came that school was cancelled on Thursday. Then I proceeded to catch up on e-mails, read, clean and make some calls. I met a friend for lunch, and as I drove out of my complex, realized 8 Mile Road was still not cleared. It was treacherous, in fact, and I was thankful again that I did not have to face it in all the traffic earlier that morning. All in all, Thursday was a great day – a snow day.
To make up for missing work Thursday, my department had to work Saturday. Saturday morning, I got up early, showered, dressed for work, packed a lunch, and with some trepidation, exited my apartment. It was a lavender morning. You know, where you walk outside in the twilight just before dawn and with the snow and the cloud cover and perhaps just a hint of light from an early sunrise behind the clouds, everything was twinkling and lavender. Flashbacks to childhood moments when we lived in a small town in rural Vermont came into my head. A moment when I was alone in the backyard building a snowman; alone until my mom came out to help with a big smile on her face. A moment when I had walked home from school between huge walls of snow and the tears rolled down my face because I was so cold. And when I reached our house, I knocked on the door. Mom opened it and I cried “I think I have frostbite!” I remember she laughed and pulled me in and fed me some warm soup or hot cocoa to get me warmed up. But I remember most being warmed by the warmth in her eyes and in her laugh. Those were lavender moments.
It snowed all day Saturday while we were at work and I felt some stress build up through the day – what would the drive home be like? Another hour and a half obstacle course filled with loud horns and obscene gestures?
I left just as the sun was setting. The roads were not bad at all and there was very little traffic out there that evening. As I got closer to home, the scenery changed from industrial to suburban, the sun disappeared, and nighttime descended. It was a periwinkle night. You know, the kind of night where it seems almost as light as day because the moon illuminates the clouds and the snow with its ethereal bluish light. Another flashback to Vermont. Mom asking me if I would like to do something very special one night – go ice-skating on a pond with a few other girls and their mothers. And I remember being so very excited as we left, bundled up in snowsuits, hats, mittens and scarves. In my young mind, I was sure it was midnight at least, but it was very light out. And here I was getting to ice-skate at midnight with “the girls”. That was a periwinkle moment.
Thank you, Lord, for a mom that provided lavender mornings and periwinkle nights to those around her throughout her entire lifetime. Thank you for her beautiful smile, her lilting laugh, her unfailing grace that allowed her to be joyful in all circumstances. I marvel at the beauty you create in this world, which my mom captured both in her spirit and in her artwork. Beauty that inspires treasured moments like these with my mom that I can call to mind when I begin to feel stressed during everyday life today.
In loving memory of:
Ann Marie Brown (pictured above)
1937 – 2007