Fully receiving the gift of the blizzard

Burrowing under mother’s weighty quilts

Hot ginger tea steeping in tiny clay pot

Satisfied with life as it is in this moment.


Unhurried. Quiet. Expectations few.


Blending into the white sky and white lawn

feeders on our deck are absent the squirrels

brown and red, the sweet black and white juncos.

Wild ones smartly hunker down in tree trunks.


Arising the next morning, pleased with scent of

fresh waffles steaming on my breakfast plate.

Then donning ski hat, heavy coat and mittens

as expectations galore build in my mind.


Breathing deeply of the frigid winter air

Prepared for the amazing sight of

dazzling snow drifts and icy sculptures

in astonishing shapes and sizes.


Yet the drifts I see exist only in the

imprint of my mind where snow is measured

by yardstick, and nature’s sculptures form while

pups, cats, and toddlers prance upon the crunchy surface. 

Unbelievable. Sacred. Imagination.


Last Saturday, I had to laugh at myself when hoping that the sixty mile per hour winds might form awesome drifts from only two inches of snow! The wind caused a few smaller drifts and blocked doorways, but in my neighborhood at least, there were none I couldn’t step over with little effort. Although the shortness of breath and chest pressure occur even then.

Five months since contracting COVID-19, I’d expected to be starting physical training for a planned mountain hike this coming June with my daughter Shannon in the Smoky Mountains. Understand that I am extremely grateful for life itself, and am not complaining too much…but am disappointed. Nonetheless, I know I’m not the only one gasping for air when short of breath, feeling foggy in the mind at times, and requiring more rest.

There seem to be as many symptoms as there are positive diagnoses. I know people in their nineties who claim they are doing quite well. Yet some decades younger have not survived. And the ways of dealing with symptoms are individual as well. Every emotion is accepted. There are days that I feel angry that like the plastic grocery bag stuck on the branch of the tree all winter, long-hauler effects still linger.

However, most of the time I am drawn again to prayer and focus on our loving and trustworthy God. Its calming to sit in the presence of Jesus, who understands our sufferings and draws us closer to him. I choose to focus on the precious gift of a wonderful life and the beauty of nature surrounding us!

Take heart on this thought from Julian of Norwich*

When we think that our prayers have not been answered

We should not become depressed over it.

I am certain that God is telling us that we must wait for a better time,

More grace, or that a better gift will be given us…

Julian continues on by telling us that are noble, excellent, and valuable.

You are loved beyond measure! Wait and trust that God’s goodness endures forever!

            Let us pray. Holy God, in this Inauguration Week, we pray for our country. May your spirit of peace and healing come upon us. May you infuse us with courage to forgive and unite our breaths with Yours. As we slowly inhale and exhale deeply, inspire us with ways that we may be part of the transformation to bring more love to our nation. In your loving presence we pray. Amen.

Rev. Marta Wheeler

*Meditations with Julian of Norwich. Brendan Doyle, Bear and Co. 1983