Sledging on a Surf Board

Last week we had the most amazing snowfall in the South of England, the best I have seen in five years of living in Dorset and the biggest for 18 years according to locals. Of course, there were disrupted plans, blocked roads and the pavements became treacherous for vulnerable people. But I was struck by the beauty of this new white-clad, sparkling creation as I woke up that first quiet morning. My children dashed outside before breakfast and came back in freezing and glowing at the same time.

There were difficult decisions to be made about journeys, work and school commitments. But as this snow is such a rare occurrence, I did my best to ensure that we were out finding a good place to sledge as soon as possible. Being originally from Northern Scotland, we still had a sledge in the garage and were able to dust it down. When we arrived at what I thought would be a quiet hill, there were lots of others who had the same idea and the excitement in the air was as noticeable as the screams of delight from children and youngsters hurtling down the slopes. What surprised me was the amazing assortment of sledging materials that people had gathered and were using. We saw a family jumping in together to an inflatable rubber dinghy. There were toddlers being gently pushed on baby changing mats. There was a family making brave attempts on an upturned surf board and quite a few on improvised kitchen cupboards or plastic bags. Living in a sheltered part of the south coast meant that very few families had custom sledges waiting for them in the garage or shed, there isn’t much point when it snows so rarely. Trying to make it to the sports or toy shop to buy one might have used up precious time. Waiting for a bargain one to arrive through an email purchase was not an option. The fresh shining snow was destined to only last a few hours and those who improvised and just got on with it were the ones to enjoy.
As I stood at the top of the hill I thought of the phrase ‘seize the day’. For us, it was even more immediate, ‘seize the hour’ perhaps. There were those who stayed at home, waiting for the chance to get prepared, buy a proper sledge in the future. Maybe next week, perhaps next year.
When it comes to sharing our faith, I wonder if we sometimes sit around and wait for better preparation, another course, a different day. Do we catch ourselves saying – ‘when I know them better’, ‘when I have more time’? Someone said to me recently – ‘Why has no one told me about Jesus dying for me before?’
Seize every opportunity to listen, be open, talk frankly. It doesn’t have to be custom built, just be yourself and go for it. God sent that wonderful snowy day and all we had to do was walk out into it. God will give you opportunities to chat about Him, look out for them. Whizz down those slopes…

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