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Last Bag of Lettuce

Well! How can I not write about the snow?!

As I sit down to write this (early afternoon on Friday) the real snow is just starting, but if predictions are anything close to accurate, then tonight, we're in for what meteorological experts call "a real doozy."

Two thoughts about snowstorms:

First, snowstorms are disruptive. That's one of the reasons I love them so much.

Yes, to some people in some occupations, snowstorms cause a great deal of additional work and stress. But I suspect for most of us, snow days give us permission to do what our heart of hearts yearns to do: slow down the frenetic pace for a while...quit racing around...nestle in...chill out...give rest to our soul.

In other words, the disruptiveness can be enjoyed as "forced Sabbath time."

Most of us, I think, have lost the sense that the 4th Commandment -- to rest one day in seven -- is every bit as serious as the commandments against lying, stealing, adultery, and murder. We violate the commandment to rest in a blasé manner - and even think we're being virtuous by working so hard all the time!

And yet over time we come to realize that maybe God knew what he was doing when he wrote our owner's manual and decided to put "rest one day in seven" in there. Because if we don't take rest on a regular basis, we develop a kind of chronic tiredness and lose some of our joie de vivre. We start dragging through our days, or march-stepping through them, afraid to fall out of line.

But, thank God, Mother Nature occasionally steps in and gives us a snow day...forced Sabbath time. An excuse to do what we -- God knows -- need to do, which is take a break; just shut down for a while.

The other thought I had about snowstorms is how they can bring out the best in people. (Yeah, yeah, I know, someone will point out they can also bring out the worst in some people. But why should snowstorms be different? -- anything can bring out the worst in some people.)

Look at the picture at the top. That's a picture of the salad shelf at Wegman's, taken yesterday afternoon, taken by Chris Davila.

Yes, there was a (not entirely irrational) "run" on groceries this weekend, as people stocked up for what might be a long weekend.

But look closely, and you'll notice there is one bag of lettuce left.

No one wanted to take the last bag of lettuce.

Dozens, if not hundreds of people must have walked by that bag of lettuce and didn't take it.

Maybe they just thought to themselves, "Nah, I don't want to be that guy."

But -- I like to think -- something else was going on. They were thinking, "I'll bet someone else will want, or need, that bag of lettuce more than I do...I'll leave it for them."

That lone salad bag can be a reminder that -- despite our cynicism - people's hearts are generally good.

Which brings me full circle: people's hearts (mine at least!) is generally better when we're well rested.

So -- let it snow! Enjoy the "forced Sabbath" that -- even if it's more from Mother Nature than a desire to follow the commandments -- can give rest to your soul.


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