The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 15, 2014

Let a winter like this focus us inward

Keeping The Faith column

By Bev Davis

— Editor’s note: This column by the late Bev Davis originally was published Feb. 22, 2010.

It’s hard for me to admit, but this winter has been good for me. I’ve learned some important lessons, made some new friends and have a greater sense of what true appreciation means. Here are a few bottom lines I included in my journal this week.

It isn’t over until it’s over. It will keep snowing until it stops snowing. The sooner I learned to accept that and deal with a storm one phase at a time, the more readily I could cope with its physical and emotional drain. Fretting, complaining and whining just rob us of precious energy we need to focus on a task at hand.

Just as “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” clearing any path begins — and progresses — one shovel full at a time. No matter what circumstances a new day holds, I can only deal with one of them at a time.

Don’t look at bad circumstances as punishment. We don’t have to know why something is happening. We need to know “all things are for our sakes” and “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Most of us need more physical exercise and to be outdoors in the fresh air more. This winter has certainly accomplished that for a lot of us.

Ditch the self-pity and do for others what you wish they would do for you. Go shovel someone else’s driveway. Drop in on a neighbor and chat over a cup of hot tea. Pass the time of day with someone who lives alone. Pour yourself out in service to others, and you might come home to find your driveway already plowed, get an uplifting phone message from a friend or get an unexpected offer for a ride to work.

Don’t get stuck in what someone has called “the paralysis of analysis.” Sometimes, we just think something to death. Over-thinking can lead to under-doing. I don’t expect to ever understand why we had a winter like this, and I doubt anyone really knows what El Nino is. Who cares? We’re all making it through this — one storm at a time.

A winter such as this can focus us outward. Everyone is tired of shoveling snow. Everyone has had hassles getting to and from work, and we’ve all dealt with a number of inconveniences and a lot of discomfort. Guess what? It’s made us all more supportive of one another. We’re all bound by common experiences. In time, we’ll enjoy exaggerating our stories of how we survived the Winter of 2010.

Pulling together has helped us all regain an attitude of gratitude. We’ve had to depend on one another and accept help. We’ve been stretched beyond our own resources. We’ve had to pray more, put our faith into action and learn what perseverance really means.