How you see things

With all the snow we got this winter, it isn't surprising that nobody was very happy to see flakes falling through the air again last week. Even if they did melt within moments of touching the pavement, or just barely managed to sugarcoat the grass, everybody I know has absolutely had enough of the white stuff.

With January's almost weekly Wednesday blizzards, snow caused a lot of disruption this year. And while everyone appreciates a snow day now and then, a quick succession of them gets old pretty fast. I'm not a big fan of cold weather anyway. And while snow looks pretty for a while, moving it out of the way can be as problematic as it is exhausting, especially when there's nowhere left to put it!

Like everyone else, I was happy to see the roads finally clear, and the mounds of dirty snow begin to melt. Happy, anyway, until I made a casual bet with my partner in crime in the Children's Department at work. I bet that there would still be snow on the ground at Easter. If I can't find any lingering snow to photograph at the end of Holy Week, I'll owe Sister Christina a dark chocolate bunny. Otherwise, she'll owe me a milk chocolate one.

Making a bet you know you'll win isn't any fun. But this year, Easter is about as late as it can ever be. The first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox lands on April 24th, almost a full month after the earliest possible date. On the other hand, I haven't seen mountains of snow piled up in parking lots like this since I was a kid in northeastern Ohio. There, the first flakes usually fell sometime in November, and we didn't see the grass again at all until the second half of March.

I warned her that the piles of snow in my grocery store parking lot were still several feet high. Nonetheless, Sister Chrissy was very confident a couple of weeks ago when the sun was shining and the thermometer broke 60 degrees. Her certainty melted, though, this past weekend, when she saw that the icy mountains at the Chestnut Hill Mall parking lot hadn't.

The two of us have had a good deal of fun with friendly banter. When the sun is shining, Sister Chrissy has been quick to note that spring has arrived and there really isn't any snow in sight. When snow was in the air last week, I was quick to tell her that when I looked out the window, I saw chocolate bunnies falling from the sky.

It won't really matter who wins this little wager. (Well, that's what I keep telling myself!) We're likely to share the bunny in either case. But what does matter is that I've realized how powerful one's point of view really is. Since making the bet with Sister Christina, the snow and cold hasn't bothered me at all. Actually, it's made me smile. I've been able to take a longer view of things, and see that maybe -- just maybe -- they'll all work to my advantage in the end.

I wish I could take the chocolate-bunny-bet lesson and apply it to my spiritual life. How wonderful it would be to see negative experiences as net positives! It would be a lot easier to "offer it up" if I could see that what I was offering up somehow contributed to an ultimate victory. The strange thing is that it does. God does not waste anything. He uses everything to our ultimate advantage.

While there isn't necessarily a chocolate bunny behind every trial, every cross we bear in faith with Christ becomes part of our redemption. Suffering can have meaning. Everything and everyone we'd rather not deal with has something to offer us. Ironically, it's the same thing that everything and everyone we love offers us: a pathway to holiness and to eternal life. That's worth remembering as we enter the second half of Lent.

Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a wife and mother of eight children, and a disciple of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. She is an inspirational author, speaker, musician and serves as an Associate Children's Editor at Pauline Books and Media.

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