Rope in the Blizzard - Stop, Look & Listen

In his book "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality," Peter Scazzero shares a story about farmers in the Midwest who prepare for blizzards by tying a rope from the back door of their house out to the barn as a guide to ensure they could return safely home. During these fierce and dangerous blizzards, a farmer could not see the end of his or her hand. Many froze to death in those blizzards, disoriented by their inability to see, sometimes within feet of their own front door, never realizing how close they were to safety.

Peter Scazzero suggests a spiritual rope in the blizzard - the ancient practice of the Daily Office - stopping to be still with God a few times during the day. He writes:

Three times a day (Daniel) got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before… I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. – Dan.6:10; Ps. 130:5

Lord, help me to grab hold of you as my rope in the blizzard today. The idea of stopping to be with you one, two, or three times a day seems overwhelming, but I know I need you. Help me to be still and to wait patiently for you (Ps. 37:7). Teach me to be prayerfully attentive to you not only when I stop and pause, but also throughout the day. Amen.

The basic elements are “Stopping, Centering, Silence and Scripture.” Because of my ever-weakening memory, I just call these elements: “Stop, Look and Listen.”
Sometimes, the flurry of activity around me makes me feel like I’m in a blizzard. To combat the disorientation, I stop, close my eyes (unless I’m driving of course!) and take a slow, deep breath. I whisper a prayer and invite God in. Because in the blizzard, it is all too likely that I will forget to stop, I set the alarm on my phone to softly ring/vibrate three times a day as a reminder. I’ll try to read a Scripture but won’t feel guilty if I can’t. Just the pause can be enough to refocus me.

My husband's office is located at a busy intersection in Paramus, NJ, the shopping mecca of the northeast, with 5 major malls in each direction from our building. The snarled traffic sits waiting through 3 or 4 light changes, even more as we get closer to Christmas Day. So each year, we put up a giant sign on the high turret that reads:

Just our little rope in the blizzard extended to the travelers outside our doors.

our office

So as we shop, if the kids are driving us crazy, when the dinner burns, if the boss is unreasonable, when the traffic is unbearable (or sometimes, like today, when I was driving around just plain irritated for no apparent reason, and I grrrrrumbled at my windshield as if there was someone there, and I let that invisible person have it, ooops, but I digress, sorry!),
anyway, as I was saying...
when the blizzard is blinding, let’s grab that rope, tune in to Him and tune out the rest.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:2
Right here, my daughter, right here. Meet with Me.



quietspirit said...

This is a beautiful thought. With all the stress in this world, we need to provide spiritual ropes to others as well.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Love this post, Susan. I had one of those days yesterday where I had to stop, look, and listen. It would have been so easy to go with my emotions, but I went to Him for wisdom instead. He came through, as usual, with exactly what I needed.

Susan :)

Joanne@ Blessed... said...

Wonderful post Susan. Your lighted sign is a beacon in the night. I love that.

Love your adorable office. Just my style. Old, with character and I'm sure LOTS of stories.