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When Life Hands You a Blizzard…Make Snow Angels

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Last week, I left sunny Florida and went to Chicago. On purpose. I arrived just 24 hours before “The Blizzard of 2011” buried the Windy City under two feet of snow. No storm was predicted when I bought the plane ticket, of course, but this was Chicago. In January. Snow is not a real shocker.

I was heading north to reconnect with three friends I hadn’t seen since our college graduation eons ago. A girls’ weekend plus the official class reunion? I couldn’t resist. So when the storm warnings hit, I went anyway.

Was there a teensy bit of tension in the Chicago air? You bet. But as the wind blew and ecstatic weathermen spouted dire predictions, I was reminded of some important truths to help weather life’s storms.

Keep friends close. As the four of us ate chocolate, pored over old photos and caught up on life, I wondered—again–how I had let these precious friends slip from my life. Finding them again was like finally tucking a missing piece of my heart back into place. They knew me back when I thought I had all the answers—even though I hadn’t figured out all the questions yet. They knew me before the indescribable joy and abject terror of motherhood added smile lines and worry furrows to my face. They knew me before life turned up the heat and molded me into the person I am today. The fact that we picked up right where we’d left off became a wonderful blizzard blessing.

Look for the joy in the unexpected. When a storm approaches, there are endless opportunities for worry and countless worst-case scenarios you can run through your head. But can I make a confession? While others fretted, we had a ball! People ask, “Wasn’t it horrible?” Heavens, no. We decided to enjoy every single minute. An unexpected storm always hands us decisions to make. How will we respond? The Serenity Prayer says, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” The weather? Not my department. Ditto for flight cancellations. Attitude? Now that one’s wholly mine—every minute of every day.

My Chicago adventure will go down as one of the most memorable trips I have ever taken. I got home a day later than planned and found my world had not collapsed without me. But oh, the treasures I brought home.

The next time life throws a blizzard your way, gather your friends and family, stock up on chocolate and pass out hugs. And in the midst of the chaos, take a peek out the window. Wonderful surprises often sneak in from unexpected directions.

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    The Conversation

  1. Jamie Janosz says:

    This is so wonderful. You described my own feelings completely. What better way to survive a blizzard than hanging out with old friends. So glad you came!

  2. Lorna Dishman says:

    I related to your article. You really don’t have any control of what is going to happen in your day, and how it turns out is up to you. It’s a difficult thing sometimes to search for the good out of a bad day. I think things happen for a reason, and I personally try to figure out what was the lesson I was suppose to learn from it. Now, I’m not saying I can automatically do that, but after the emotional Italian that I am cools down, I do. And usually, the answer helps me in the future.

    Perhaps my lesson today, after reading this wonderful message, is to pick up that phone and contact an old friend. Thank you, Connie!

  3. Mary Ricksen says:

    I really can relate to that. I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in almost 30 years and it was as if we’d never lost touch. I have a few friends I would really like to reconnect with, but I haven’t been able to find them. Sad, I really would love to see the two of them again!
    As long as they promise not to tell my DH a word!!

    • Connie Mann says:

      Thanks, Mary! I hope you will be able to find your friends. Reconnecting with mine was such a special thing–and facebook is making staying connected much easier!

  4. Chuck Jacobs says:

    I don’t know Connie, but I think you have an “old soul”. In reading your blog I have discovered that you went back home. Now we know it has been written that “you can never go back home” I have always somewhat disagreed with that because home is with your family. But a very large part of your heart lay with old friends like the ones you described that “knew you when”. I have reached that point in life that most, if not all of my old friends have gone before me. But I have memories.

    Great thoughts, Nice work Connie. Chuck.

    • Connie Mann says:

      Thanks, Chuck! And I agree, our hearts get wrapped in people, more so than simply places. I think they tie together and often overlap. Rediscovering either one is a blessing! Thanks for stopping by. Hope all is well in your world!