This past week the Birmingham area was hit by a couple of inches of snow. Not too much of a snowfall according to northern USA standards, but to us it was a paralyzing snowstorm as traffic snarled within a few hours. Many people were stranded in their vehicles and had to seek shelter in any available facility. My pregnant niece (who is due any day now) had to be rescued by a law enforcement officer off an icy road. He graciously transported her home.
Everywhere you go there are snow stories. "Where were you when the snow started falling?" and "Did you make it home?" are fairly common questions. My Sunday School teacher even gave a gift card today to the person who had the hardest luck story of the week.
Although I didn't win the gift card, I also was stranded by the weather. Working in the hospital, it became inevitable after several hours of snowfall that I was bound to spend the night. That evening I went to the hospital cafeteria and consumed whatever hot meal was available (which happened to be pork loin, rice and carrots), borrowed a scrub suit from the operating room (I didn't have any extra clothes with me) and prepared to spend the night. I did have a toothbrush, toothpaste and razor in my office at work in addition to a comb in my car. Otherwise I obtained deodorant, soap and shaving cream from our patient supply cart. I slept on a folding recliner in a patient room (in addition to three other male employees who also slept on recliners, one in the bed) and prepared for work the following day.
The next morning I ate Pop Tarts from a vending machine and drank some orange juice for breakfast before starting my workday. For lunch, the hospital graciously sent up boxed lunches to our floor so I enjoyed chicken wings, macaroni and cheese in addition to a mixed broccoli vegetable entre'. Later in the day, the roads cleared sufficiently so I was almost able to drive home, having to abandon my car about 1/2 mile from my home and walking the rest of the way. I was able to sleep in my own bed before walking to my car the next morning in 12 degree weather and riding cautiously back to work.
Why do I mention all of my travails? I write these things because I learned something from the snow. Essentially, a paralyzing snowstorm reduces life to basic essentials: food, clothing and shelter. I really didn't care what I wore at work as long as I had something to wear. In like manner, it didn't matter what I had to eat as long as it was something. Furthermore, just having a place to sleep (albeit just a recliner) was invaluable.
The whole experience reminded me of I Timothy 6:8, " If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content." Sometimes that is really all we need, i.e. food, covering and shelter. Just the basics were more than enough when the snow hit. So, for little things such as the hot meal, the clothes to wear and a recliner in which to sleep, I had ample items in which to be truly content.