It was a bitterly cold day and six inches of snow had fallen the night before. I was five years old and being bundled up by my Mom in front of the stove. In those days a heavy snow was no reason to cancel school. After my Mom pulled on my mittens and snapped the hood around my head I walked outside to wait for the school bus to arrive.
The snow was heavy on the old, swinging bridge that led from our house, across the river and to the main road. Me and my brothers had grown up walking across it, though, so I wasn’t scared. In fact, when I saw my ten and twelve year old brothers involved in a snowball fight on it I joined right in. After hitting my oldest brother in the back with a well thrown snowball, I laughed while he picked one up to throw back at me. I ran back to the far end of the bridge and thought I was safe, but he flung his snowball at me with all his might. In slow motion I saw the white sphere getting closer and closer. I bent down and ducked thinking it would sail harmlessly over my head. But at the last second the icy missile dropped and instead of bouncing off of my thick coat, it hit me square in the face. It stung so much that I ran crying back inside to my Mom who just shook her head and wiped off my nose, mouth, and eyes. Then she smiled, hugged me and sent me back outside to get on the bus and face life once again.
That wasn’t the last time that I tried to duck the troubles that were headed my way and got smacked in the face instead. Over the years I have learned that it is far better to not duck them at all, but rather to look them straight in the eye and learn what they have to teach me.
In truth, God uses both the good and the bad to strengthen our souls, open our hearts, and teach us the value of love in this life. And when we cry out to Him, He is always there as well to comfort us with a smile, give us a hug, and send us back out to face life once again.