Stress, snow, stronger

Tonight my mother and I drove back from school (in Portland) to the coast. As we stepped out of the van in Newberg to visit my brother Paul, we were gently assaulted by little white things from the sky. Since we still had to make it over the pass, we made the rendezvous short and got back on the road. Supplied with 3 hugs from my brother and a little John Mark McMillan I was ready for the snow-filled ride home.

At first it was fun, I love the snow – it’s pretty, exciting, and driving in it feels almost like a rollar-coaster, which I also love. The little white flakes got bigger, and I watched the thermometer drop from 35 to 34 to 33, to 32, to 31, to 30…each drop equating to an increase of blanche stuff on both the rode and windshield.

Then my mother, who was driving, got a little stressed out. I offered to drive at one point, to which she replied with a smile. Interpretation = “I would be more stressed out if you were driving”.

This whole thing got me thinking about stress, which just happened to be the topic of my class tonight. My teacher was discussing each of the Myers-Briggs personalities and what happens when life gets topsy-tervy.

Back to the snow, I noticed that at first it was fun, light and quite enjoyable – like many things in life. But the thicker it got, the harder it was to see. Everything was moving fast and it was difficult to keep perspective. The same thing happens with stress. When too much is going on, how easily I lose perspective. I get focused on how fast things are coming, tracing each new speck as it races past me and I miss that I’m still moving, still on a road, still alive.

As the temperature was falling, Dress Us Up came on, an incredible song that for some time repeats the line, “His love is stronger, His love is stronger, than the power of death”. Romans 8:35-39 popped into my head:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When we get stressed out we don’t act like ourselves. If you want to get into technical personality quirks, each person acts almost opposite of how they’re wired. It’s like you become a lousy version of your opposite. We do things and the next day wonder, “Who was that person?” And yet, even in that, the love of God is stronger. Nothing can separate us from this love. Nothing. Not even stress. Or fast moving snow. Rien.

But when we’re in that place of stress that simple undeniable life-changing fact is easy to over look. The deadlines, phone messages, emails, meeting, work, broken relationships, depression, anger, pain are coming pretty fast. And they are damn distracting. The love of God is stronger.

The love of God is stronger.

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