During the 1989 winter, Louise Gore and I drove our two high school seniors to Searcy, Arkansas to Harding Christian University’s campus. I phoned Arkansas relatives for a weather report, and my 90-year-old grandmother, who hadn’t been outdoors in weeks, answered, “Hon, the weather’s fine.”
By the time we reached Searcy, thick ice had formed everywhere. On a very steep decline, we inched into town taking a suggested shortcut. We later heard from the locals that we had come into town on the worst choice road. We made our icy descent into town from a steep road that had a winter name of “Suicide Hill.” One day later, travel was still treacherous, the highways glazed like a doughnut. As we traveled homeward on “black ice,” we passed numerous cars in ditches. With all of us having tense shoulders, we didn’t even make it to the Arkansas state line. We stopped our trip, and a clerk rented us her last motel room in Prescott, Ark.
Every two hours, night and day, I started my vehicle to keep the weak battery charged. We’d already had to jump it off one morning of the trip. No. It wasn’t a Die Hard brand.
Meanwhile, back at our South Texas home, outdoor temperatures hovered around six degrees. Weighted by ice, tree limbs broke. Electric power ceased. Warm houses grew cold. With no electricity, my husband and teen daughter had the fireplace roaring and camped out nearby.
Our fireplace had a swing arm to hold a cooking pot. After many cold PB & J sandwiches, they wanted to eat something hot, so they combined culinary skills and cooked dried beans. They couldn’t find my all-metal cooking pot, so they used a teakettle that didn’t have any plastic parts. Never having cooked pintos before, they washed a two-pound-bag of beans, added water and salt, and shoved the lid onto the medium sized kettle.
As the blazing fireplace heated the metal bottom, the beans began to absorb water and swell. For about four hours, the growing beans pulsed out the spout of the teakettle. They formed a sort of cooking brigade. Add water. Catch beans. Add water. Catch beans.
When the weather began to warm and folk began to stir, neighbors Myra and Elton invited hubby and daughter to dinner. They didn’t go empty handed. They had plenty of fresh mesquite-smoked beans. We still laugh about the miracle multiplying beans.
During another South Texas ice storm, temperatures skidded beneath the 32 mark. I was at home for that freeze, and the view out my kitchen window fascinated me. Six-inch icicles hung from the roofline, but pressed against the window panes were three red roses, the climbing kind.
The disparity of the icicles and red roses prompted thoughts about a Bible passage. God said through the prophet Isaiah, “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
During Advent, we once again enact awaiting a Savior. One, who can scrub the darkness from a soul and turn it white as snow. We await the arrival of one who delivers on all his promises.
God’s reaches through any kind of inclement weather or stained life to provide care and healing. He sometimes sends fresh reminders in icicles and roses.
Hunger for Humility (Week 49): “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isaiah 30:18).
Cathy Messecar welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org