Hot chocolate is served with ice and it transforms into chocolate slushies in paper cups and the goodies laid out have a frosting that could knock your teeth out, but the hockey players play on, with not a care in the world that they are coated in freezing rain.
As predicted, in the morning, it's a beautiful winter wonderland.
I tromp through the ice-capped snow to attempt capture the sheer glory of it all and it's like shards of glass under my feet. I steady myself against slipping and breaking either camera or bones.
The ice is beautiful, but it can also be deadly.
Lately, I've been thinking of conversation.
Words can be beautiful but they can also be deadly.
Weeks before social media went crazy with Duck Dynasty hashtags, and anyone was silenced, I was reading Anne of Avonlea to my children.
I have to admit, I've never watched one second of the Robertson's episodes, but you can't be online for even a minute it seems without hearing the conversation, that sadly is even happening at all.
How we need to see things through a lens of beauty and speak in such a way.
In all the controversy, talk about freedom of speech and bigotry, or speaking truth in love and intolerance, and lack of honest dialogue, but too much hate, this Anne quote keeps coming back to mind:
We have the opportunity to speak honest words that build and strengthen or horrific words that bite and shatter.
“Anne was saying with true Anneish philosophy . . . 'We're to seek for beauty and refuse to see anything else.' . . . ""'If a kiss could be seen I think it would look like a violet,' said Priscilla.Anne glowed.'I'm so glad you spoke that thought, Priscilla, instead of just thinking it and keeping it to yourself. This world would be a much more interesting place . . . although it is very interesting anyhow . . . if people spoke out their real thoughts.''It would be too hot to hold some folks,' quoted Jane sagely.'I suppose it might be, but that would be their own faults for thinking nasty things. Anyhow, we can tell all our thoughts today because we are going to have nothing but beautiful thoughts. Everybody can say just what comes into her head. That is conversation.'"~ Lucy M Montgomery, 'Anne of Avonlea'
We can either capture the beauty around us or carelessly lacerate like jagged bits of glass deep into dermis.
Pain receptors have been sovereignly created in us, right in the skin of us, to detect and automatically respond to what is harmful for the human body.
And right in the soul of us, God has given us grace to season the conversation that we may respond in a way that will benefit those who hear.
Families that have let words cut and left wounds deep, communities that have failed to offer safe places, friendships that have left off with cold shoulders and broken pieces will gather over the next couple of weeks to remember. As we remember what Christ has done we re-member, as Mark Buchanan says in his book, 'The Rest of God'.
Christ has come. He's coming again. That is enough to make all conversation flow with grace.
What if while we feast together with brothers and sisters, we fast from ungracious stinging words and offer only speech seasoned with salt?
Social media will have a heyday with hashtags and heated opinions, but let us gather in real places and extend warm hugs and open our mouths with loving and beautifully gracious words that come from thinking about: "whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy".
That is conversation.