Sunlight, Starlight, and the Kindness of a Stranger

Today was a pretty good day. I kept thinking about what I was going to write about, and at the end of the day I find myself equally grateful for three things, so I’m going to name them all.

We had a beautiful sunny day today. The sun came out yesterday afternoon and stayed out all day today. It was marvelous. I walked home from work yesterday and to and from the grocery store today, and I felt restored. Even though the temperatures today were only in the upper 20s, it seemed warmer, and everything felt more tolerable. I know that I always took sunshine for granted in Texas–something that is easy to do there. I don’t anymore, and especially not after this long run of bad weather and frequently-gray skies. There’s nothing like a little yellow energy to lift a person’s spirits!

Then, this evening as the sun was going down, I decided to go work on excavating my car. I told myself that I just had to go and work for thirty minutes and then I could stop, that I just had to get started, especially since another storm is blowing through tomorrow. Last week, someone with a nearby car had buried the hood of my car with their refuse snow, and I have neither had the time nor the heart to tackle the project of digging it out. But I put on my insulated coveralls and grabbed my snow shovel and headed down. I worked and worked, trying to just get as much snow off the hood and roof as possible, and I ended up staying out for a lot longer than my original intention. The snow was pretty frozen in some places, and I chipped away at it as well as I could with my shovel and an ice scraper which I was using to beat the snow trying to break it up.

So there I was, working away, climbing up on piles of snow and on the hood of my car, improvising with what I had and probably looking pretty silly as I took swings at a three foot mound of snow with a broken ice scraper. Enter a kind stranger. A guy had come out to dig out his car, parked across the alley from me and up a little way, and he noticed what I was doing and brought over his metal shovel. He said he wasn’t using it, and thought it might work a little better for me than my ice scraper. And it did! It was great for breaking up the ice and frozen snow. It was a small gesture, and it didn’t take any time or effort, but it was more than a lot of people would d0. Moments like this are life-affirming for me. It reminds me that for all of the ways that human nature is inclined toward self-serving behavior, we are also–all of us–created in the image of God.

After I had done all the damage I was going to for the evening on my snow-bound car (digging for two hours), I sat on the hood for a moment enjoying the clear night sky. Orion, my favorite constellation, winked and waved, and the handful of other stars visible over Boston twinkled, and it was beautiful. And as much as I would have liked to have spent my Friday night doing something more fun, it was a blessing indeed to enjoy a rare moment of clear skies and starlight. I would have missed it totally if I had not been outside working on my car.

So. These are the things I’m especially thankful for today.

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