Sometimes I am just so incredibly grateful for the safety and predictability of my life.
It has been an unusually cold, harsh winter. It has snowed nearly every two days for weeks. The piles of snow in the yard now cover every bush and plant and tree stump. The pine trees in the woods behind our house are bending over in the wind, covered with mounds of icy frosting. Hungry birds cluster at the suet basket, desperate for food.
When the wind blows, my bay window fills with a screen of snowy crystals. I shiver as I watch them swirl past.
I am safe inside. I have a solid roof, sturdy walls, a furnace at the ready.
Sometimes I am just so happy that I can stay right here. On days like this, in months like this one, in winters as cold as we are seeing now, I am so happy that I can stay on my couch, my coffee cup in hand. I am acutely aware of how lucky I am to have flour and yeast and eggs and honey as I mix up a batch of bread dough and let the warm smell fill my kitchen.
But on days like this one, as I stir my soup and hug my dogs and wrap up in another woolen sweater, I am also intensely aware of all of the people in my world who aren’t as lucky as I am.
I look out into the icy blue woods, and I think of people in my state, in my town, who are huddled somewhere tonight just praying that the cardboard box will keep out the vicious wind. That tomorrow the soup kitchen will have something really hot to keep them going one more day.
I’m thinking of children, hungry tonight, and cold. I’m thinking of young mothers, heating ramen noodles in tiny apartments, hoping that the heat will stay on for one more night.
I stand at my window, watching the world as if I am once again inside of a snow globe. I think of my three young adult children, financially still fragile but protected by parents who will never let them be cold and afraid. I feel my good luck in my bones and in my heart. A part of me that I never earned, but which I cherish.
I am so grateful for this humble home. So incredibly aware of how lucky I am today to be here. Warm and safe and at rest.
And I am so aware of my responsibility and my sense of duty to those who are not as lucky as I have been.
In the “richest country in the world”, in the “greatest country that has ever existed”, I stand at my window, looking out into another winter night. I wonder what it is that we need to do to make sure that every single child has a warm bed tonight.