The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 1, 2014

Lessons from that pesky groundhog

Keeping the Faith

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

Well, if the groundhog isn’t on the endangered species list, it should be. That pudgy prognosticator better keep his big fat head buried deep in a hole somewhere.

This spring, if we ever have one, I’m trading in my snow shovel for a shotgun, and I’ll be gunning for that little critter and all his kin.

Trouble is, Punxsutawney Phil has been right on the money so far. He saw his shadow Feb. 2, and we’ve had a white-out ever since.

I had a terrible thought this week. Easter falls on April 4. What if we have a white Easter this year?

I can only imagine the muffled grunts of tiny tulips trying to push their way up through 36 inches of snow that hasn’t melted. Lilies tall enough to push through the snow probably won’t see enough sunshine to bloom. The “snowballs” on my snowball bush won’t be flowers. They’ll be real snowballs.

We’ll all have to shop at Cabela’s for our Easter fleece jackets and thigh-top snow boots. At church, music directors may get mixed up and have us singing “Silent Night” instead of “He Lives.”

Instead of jellybeans, kids could find dyed ice pellets in their Easter baskets. Hiding Easter eggs won’t be hard. Just toss dyed hard-boiled eggs out in any direction, and they’ll land unharmed in a deep snow bank somewhere. Hunting them won’t be any fun, though, because we’ll be too tired from wading through waist-deep snow to look for them.

And what if we lose little kids in all those snow drifts?

Until this year, I could never have imagined an Easter like that. Now, like that grandma who found herself under the hooves of a reindeer, I believe.

Surely the snow and the groundhog can serve some useful purposes. Maybe they can teach us some life lessons such as:

n Don’t get discouraged when you have to tell somebody something that’s hard to hear. Say it lovingly, and if your motives are right, you could be doing a fellow human being a huge favor. If someone is facing an extended winter in his or her life, choose words that will give them courage and hope for the long haul. They don’t need pious platitudes and shallow sentiments. They need you to be real, and they need encouragement they can hang onto.

n Like a steady snowfall, be persistent in trying to shower others with goodness. No matter how many people criticize you, keep a gracious demeanor, even when you’re angry and discontented. No one else needs your negativity. Your genuine love and concern could change theirs.

n Have the faith to believe not even a white Easter could diminish its amazing message of redemption and resurrection. Flowers will bloom. Sunshine will return. Death is not the end — and, eventually, the snow will stop falling.