"It Doesn't Have to Be Productive."

“It doesn’t have to be productive, you know. Maybe just fun.” 

  • Words spoken from a hospital bed are weighty. Credible. Sobering. People seldom speak flippantly when IV lines tether their body to machines that beep and click. Do the tubes pump wisdom into her veins, or has it been there all along? Maybe it’s me who has changed—now I have ears to hear. Maybe I care more, and the scarcity of her words and the very real threat of a shortage give them diamond-like value. 

Snow days don’t happen often in the South. I know my oft-frozen neighbors to the north don’t have the luxury of taking a day off to play every time the confectioner’s sugar of the meteorological world sprinkles down. Most of us have to produce, in some way, to eat. 

But there is a time and a purpose for everything. A time to work, and a time to play board games. A time to eat hummus, and a time to eat brownies. And so we ate from my neighbor’s bubbling soup pot and played games. 

And talked. We’ve done this twice in two weeks—more than we have in two decades of neighboring. 

We shared faith stories and life stories, everything from the Creation/Evolution debate to the best price on cell phone plans. And we talked about our children. Our hopes, our dreams, and our fears. It always circled back to God’s faithfulness. 

“We’re 50,” he says with a shake of his grizzled head. “Who woulda thought it?” 

We’ve lived one street number apart for more than two decades. Seen each other's babies born, first steps, first missing teeth. First unassisted bike rides—at 3 for their amazingly coordinated son—at 6 for my amazingly average daughter. First grade, first team, first dance recital. First date, first kiss (it’s true what they say about the neighbors), first solo drive. 

And the calendar pages turn faster now, and it’s first college acceptance letters, first Dean’s List, first graduation, and first to leave home and marry. And the cycle begins again. She sits on my couch, and I’m rocking a baby again. Mine once removed. 

“Who woulda thought it?” 

We shake our heads and roll again, resuming play until the soup grows cold, and the brownies are gone. 

“It doesn’t have to be productive, you know. Just fun,” she reminded me early this morning. 

Thank you, Lord, for snow days in the South, good friends, and brownies, for wise words, and days that are more productive than they appear. 

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1 comment:

  1. Like this, Lori. Good point and good word pictures of the best of snow days. And your photos are the perspective of your mail box, especially knowing it's Columia, SC. : )