Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snowy circumstances

This winter has been brutal, breaking records for snow accumulation, ice thickness and freezing temperatures. I've taken to calling it the frozen tundra. This is as close to Siberia as I ever want to get. The cold is so intense that it blasts through three layers of clothing rendering even the fuzziest of coats inadequate.
My pets and I have been spending more time indoors than usual. Pippy and I still go for our walks, although I must admit they have become increasingly shorter. Other than those brief expeditions around the neighborhood Pippy is mostly inside. Patches, the overweight cat, hasn't passed over the threshold of the front door in over two months. In fact, she has barely come within five feet of the door. I believe she is trying to make her point crystal clear: I'm not going out there and you can't make me. Point taken. I haven't even attempted to corral her out the door and into the snow globe on the other side. She's old and, in my opinion, cranky. So, let her be - even if that means having to put up with a stinky litter box from December till March (if we're lucky).
Pippy, on the other hand, doesn't have such an aversion to the cold and snow. In fact, sometimes she seems to thoroughly enjoy it. Take, for example, last night. Pippy was prancing around, signally a need for a trip outside. I proceeded to the back door where I let her out so she could wander off the deck and into the yard to do her business. This is our typical evening routine.
After her normal five minutes I went back to the door and called her name. I must admit to a bit of nighttime cold paranoia. What if she freezes out there? What if she gets stuck in a big mound of snow? I can ward off these thoughts for about five minutes before I head to the door to retrieve the Pipster.
Last night I called her name and waited... No sound. I called again. Waited. And heard a little rustling. So I called again and didn't have to wait long because there came Pippy ripping around the corner. She bolted through the back door, stopped on a dime and looked up at me with her signature cocked head. And there it was, a snow covered face that was a dead give away that fun in the snow had just occurred. Pippy was off having a good romp, whooping it up in her own snow covered playground that was previously just a grassy backyard.
That little face looking up at me was one of pure joy. I can just picture what she was doing out there for those five minutes. I'm sure she was sticking her face in the snow, rolling around on her back, jumping up snowy stairs and licking at the wet substance. All the wonders of winter were at her disposal and she was obviously thrilled.
Across the room from the exuberant Pippy sat the ornery Patches. One would spend an hour in the snow if I would let her and the other would claw me to pieces if I tried to expose her paw to temperatures below forty-five degrees. This stark dichotomy put the wheels of my mind into motion. Two pets can take a very different view and opinion of the same circumstances. One sees a reason for celebration while the other wants nothing to do with the festivities.
I guess pets aren't all that different from people. Some people look at this snow and cold and see nothing but misery. Others put on their skis and hit the slopes. One person might loath the months of January, February and March while the other sees beauty and enjoyment in the change of scenery and activities that accompany the falling temperatures and rising snow.
The difference in perspective doesn't just stop at snowy winters. Some people see a hiccup in their plans as the ruination of a day. Another person sees that same hiccup as the chance for a different adventure. One person looks at a past failure and places a heavy burden of guilt on themselves. Another person might take a failure and use it as a learning opportunity. One person might interpret a Valentine's Day without a date as a sign of loneliness and inadequacy. Another person spends that same dateless night making themselves a cup of hot cocoa and watching a funny sitcom, not even remembering it's Valentine's Day at all.
In all circumstances, good or bad, there is always a choice to be made: see the good or sink into a pit with the bad.
Pippy's play time in the snow reminded me that I want to be one of those people that sees the good no matter what the weather. As 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "Give thanks in all circumstances." If Pippy could talk I think she would have been giving abundant thanks last night for the snow and for the frosty air. But she can't talk so instead she just enjoyed the blessing, giving thanks by displaying an undeniable pleasure and joy.
Today when I go out to walk Pippy, which I promise to do even if it is only fifteen degrees outside, I am going to do it with a thankful heart and a joyful spirit. Because I don't want to be a Patches type of person. I don't want to look at every circumstance and weather pattern as a reason for sorrow. I don't' want to grumble and complain when life doesn't go exactly my way. I want to look at every hiccup as an opportunity and every snow fall as God's wonderland. I want to enjoy life with a Pippy attitude that makes even the coldest and snowiest of days a cause for celebration and thanksgiving.

Once again my dear Pippy comes through with another lesson. And the timing is just perfect because once again, it has begun to snow. Looks to me like a good morning for a walk. Ready, Pippy?

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