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Snow day: the head-cracking sled ride and the golf course hockey rink.

January 16, 2018

7We received the message in the Zockoll household about 7:30 yesterday evening: 

GCA will be closed on Tuesday, January 16 due to forecasted inclement weather moving into our area.

We danced for an hour.  Jill had to tell me to get down off of the coffee table.

As a teacher, I rejoice in the snowfall as much as when I was a kid.  Getting out into the white stuff is as enjoyable as it was decades ago.  Man, I never tire of a snow day.  I don’t think any teacher does.  It’s one of the perks of the teaching profession.

Years ago we Tennesseans got such a generous snow that I took little Julie out in the yard and built her a Snow Airplane.  It was a thing of beauty.  Open cockpit.  Full wing span.  Designer back tail.  A gorgeous icy air transport that was noticed by all the neighbors until it melted.

Which was the next day.  Remember, this is East Tennessee.

I recall our childhood years in Hershey, Pennsylvania of deep and adventurous snowfalls that covered our little neighborhood that sat at the edge of the local public golf course.  We’d go trudging over through the links to take a look at the thick drifts along the Ninth Hole.  We’d stoop at the edge of the golf creek to see if we could find any fish underneath the ice.  We even played a scrappy game of ice hockey in a frozen puddle a little bit bigger than the size of the average living room.  For elementary school kids with sticks and a rock, we were pretty satisfied until Brent wiped out and smashed his knee on the ice and ordered us to carry him home.  He was a pretty dominant figure for a third grader. We obeyed silently.

I also recall as a first grader the evening excitement of  Dad taking us kids to the local iced-over high school parking lot for a big night of sledding and flying saucer rides under the brightly-lit lampposts.  (We had those 1960s-era aluminum disks with nylon handles that were known as “flying saucers”.)  We would line up in the dusk and he would give us a monster push and we glided effortlessly across a gently sloping full-ice parking lot, skidding along without friction for, oh, about a mile and a half.  We would trudge back and he would shove us again until we were well beyond the horizon.  It was a blast.

Well, it was a blast until he accidentally aimed my sled toward a murky patch of blackiness on the parking lot.  He thought it was an extra-smooth black ice, so he gave an extra effort in his shove.

It was not black ice.  It was the only dry section on the whole blasted parking lot.

In short, at a full run, the sled stopped and I did not.  I took it straight on the head, too.

I was down for the count, inert and screaming.  And this was before Concussion Protocol.  That ended my evening of ice-sledding.

I do recall a vivid memory of yet another heavy snowfall in Pennsylvania.  I believe it may have been in the Pittsburgh area at my Grandpap’s farm in the snowy Tarentum/Culmerville township wooded area.  The snow was deep and the adults were leading us on a forest hike.

The only way my little elementary legs could keep up was to step into their footprints.

I had a great time exploring with the grown-ups.  All I had to do was follow.

As I was enjoying this morning’s quietness in my devotional time, this hit me like an avalanche.  I am dense, so bear with me.  I think I know where I have lost the way.  Perhaps it may shed light on how so many of us Christians have lost the way.

We ask ourselves: Since we’re Chrsitians, how exactly should a Christian act?  Is it a set of moral codes, or a better demeanor in public?  Yet there are many faiths that teach the very same thing.  In fact, many non-Believers have some sort of moral code;  is that what a Jesus person does?  How exactly do we live this life?  What commandments are most important?  What is the church attendance requirement?  How many times do we pray a day?

I think I’ve been so focused on me I think I have really missed the importance of Him

So let’s start this off simply.  Think about my childhood snow hiking.

Now follow this passage in Mark.  A wealthy young man comes to Jesus, knowing that he has not locked in the plan of salvation:

“Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

As a child all I needed to do was follow.  I stepped in the leader’s footprints and stayed on his trail.  I was keeping a close watch to place my feet in the direction and imprint of the leader, and I went on an adventure, enjoying every minute while safe in the assurance that the leader was taking me the right way.

And so that’s what i am to do.

I follow.

If I am not sure, I go back to the Footprints of Leadership found in the Scripture.

I become submissive to Him.  I am not the head of the snowstorm. He is, and He knows the way.

Day by day, whether in the classroom, at home, on the road, wherever – I simply take one step at a time.

Isn’t this simple?

Like an idiot, I forget these things and look inward too much. I am starting with following and seeing how rich this Jesus-trek is.  All the other details of the Christian life will fall in line – I’m going to shed the burdens of social Christianity and get back to the grassroots life of a Believer I once knew many years ago.

I then note the reward of the follower:

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields … and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

The Heavenly prizes will be one hundred times as much as here in this life?  This is a homecoming that nobody could ever match.

Let me get back to the simple God-honoring trek of following.

Thank you, Jesus, for simplicity and security.


P.S. A tip of my snowman hat to the source for the picture:

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