It’s been years since we had a snow day here in the Dallas Fort Worth area. I think I heard one newscaster say five years. The media therefore has been proclaiming from the rooftops that we were going to have one today. The areas just west of us are covered in ice and snow today and towns just 30 minutes away are having a cozy day at home.
Something different happened here. All we got was an almost snow day. My school superintendent husband is involved in making that tough decision and believe me, they put a lot of thought, science and early morning discussion into such decisions. I’ve often wondered how he keeps from just deciding he’d like to be warm, cozy and by the fire with a good book and just calling for a snow day even though it is just cold rain out there. He seems pretty disciplined about NOT doing that.
But for children, staff and parents everywhere this is such a tough psychological regrouping. I’m sure parents had made their back up childcare plans. I bet people had made provisions for making soups and stews. I bet people were inventorying their puzzle collection, bringing in firewood…selecting some movies to watch. Children probably had their hats, gloves and sleds parked by the door. I bet teachers and administrators had their backpacks filled with work to do at home. Around here other workplaces and activities cancel if the school district cancels so I’m sure they were all keeping an eye on what the school district would do. When I worked in the church, we closed if the district did. More than once, I suggested to my husband that a day off for both of us sure would be nice. He never once listened to me.
Have you ever had to recalibrate your mind for what you were hoping and expecting and adjust everything to the true reality of your situation? It is hard.
I’ve seen people who planned elaborate vacations and trips only to have them cancelled at the last minute. What about when you thought your health was just fine until it wasn’t? Suddenly losing a job, a loved one, a dream for the future can feel that way. I’ve seen people be blindsided by divorce, a miscarriage, a car accident, a big change at work, church or school.
Our minds and hearts do not easily stop and reverse directions. Disappointment is tough. Changing our heart plans is hard.
How do you adjust after anything from an almost snow day event to your current reality?
Try to name a few bright sides…a few bits of hope in the disappointment. “At least I have good medical care.” “My support circles are strong in this storm.” “I’m happy to have a warm classroom to return to with other disappointed people.”
Ask yourself, What can I do to make this situation brighter? Maybe you will be the one that brings the meal, sends the card, reaches out to somebody more disappointed than you. Maybe you will find others going through divorce, grief or loss and join a support group so that your shared losses can soothe one another. Maybe your new mission in life will come out of the deep pain you have experienced. I believe resurrection happens on a daily basis when people end up helping others out of their deepest losses.
Do not over focus too much on what you lost. There is a place and time for naming the losses but healing comes more quickly from accepting what is. All our wishes and regrets do not have the power to change what is.
I do not know what your almosts are. I do not know how many times reality has changed your dreams or expectations. I do know that how we handle the small dissapointments in life can resource us when the big ones come.
On this almost snow day, let’s practice recalibration, adjustment and reframing. Maybe tonight you can be cozy by the fireplace.
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three grown children, Mosa to Keller and Pace and breast cancer survivor.