Lesson from a Snowman in the Woods

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

During my last few days of Christmas vacation, I drove to Chicago to visit Sister Belinda, a friend I have made through Benedictine conferences and gatherings such as the Under 55 group. She’s a member of St. Scholastica’s Monastery in Chicago. We stayed at the monastery’s lake house.

We enjoyed long conversations, coffee (and the internet) at a little cafe, and daily hikes. One hike was in a beautiful, snowy forest preserve … only I missed the beauty for a bit. The snow was too deep – and the path too uncertain – to look up!

We spoke very little as we concentrated on walking and staying upright. Each step had to be carefully placed. It was not an easy walk but good exercise!

As we approached a bend in the path I looked up before placing my foot and saw … a snowman! He was sitting in the middle of nowhere along a path that seemed far from anything. Boy, that stopped me. I really looked … and then looked around at the beauty and mystery of this incredible place.

I realized that my mind was so much on where to step down that I was missing what was around me!

We all travel paths in life. We can struggle with which path God wants us to take. At times we can believe we’re on the right path, but because we are so focused on trying to stay on this path, we forget to look up and around.

When we do that, we miss messages and signs from God.

So here’s my snowman message: Take the time to pause on your path. Look and listen. You never know when God may be asking you to change paths!

And, oh by the way, another snowman appeared a little farther on. You just never know what you’re going to discover when you take the time to look! 🙂

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