As I write this, my toddler is napping snugly in his bed while my three older sons play “quietly” in the living room. While we have spent the last 48 hours warm and safe inside the brick and mortar walls of our home, so many others near us have not had the luxury of being so warm and have not been quite so safe.
Last night, while scrolling down my Facebook feed, I smiled at the bountiful collages of so many beautiful children grinning ear-to-ear as they joyously made snowballs, snowmen, and snow angels -many for the first time. Unfortunately, in between admiring posts of children sledding on anything other than actual sleds (because of course most Southerners don’t own sleds), I was gripped with heartache by other daunting stories that were being shared.
One friend, a fellow mother-of-four, was in a horrific multi-car accident on one of our icy Alabama roadways. She suffered a broken leg, yet she is feeling abundantly blessed because she and her children survived while two other motorists involved in the collision did not. Then there was the friend from college who petitioned us for prayers for her father who went to pick up his wife during the storm and was missing for hours before finally being reunited with his family. Another friend from college spent the night separated from her husband and young daughter, left with no option than to spend the evening in her office building because traveling home was deemed too dangerous. A friend in Atlanta spent more than 8 hours in her car as she attempted an early commute back from work in an effort to beat the snow. She was blessed to have enough gas to make it home, but other motorists did not and instead spent the night trapped in their cars, on school buses or at schools. Still others were forced to abandon their cars and walk miles in frigid wind and sub-freezing temperatures.
I am saddened as I think that some of these stranded, frightened people likely felt as if they lost a small bit of their dignity in the process, and I am greatly grieved that a few even less fortunate people lost their very lives.
Today, our local struggles during this storm made national headlines and then then came an ugly realization: while many people have showered us with prayers, well-wishes and concern, some people in other regions of the country have been mocking us for the tragedy and chaos that we have experienced. They feel like our circumstances were the product of some intellectual deficit that rendered us incapable of coping with a little snow. Many of you have shared bold, valid responses to these mockers, some first-hand, some via the voices of other bloggers, and I personally want to stand united as a fellow southerner with the message that our resources were the problem, not our wits.
Now, as more images and stories emerge, they remind us of what we are really all about here in the South. From pictures of an employee from Chick-fil-A passing out food, to passengers stranded on impassable roadways, to snap-shots of small school children being tenderly cared for overnight by their loving but tired teachers, these pictures tell the real story of what happens when snow visits our states.
I hope that when the world takes a look at what is going on in the South, that it takes note of the hospitality in the midst of hostile weather, and that it sees generosity in the midst of genuine hardship. Our actions were not the result of being ignorant but of being ill-equipped, and I am proud of my roots.
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” Nahum 1:7 NIV