Holiness in our Midst: Session 98

Holiness in our Midst


Story Circle Prompt: Share about a special “snow day,” a day when an unexpected event (perhaps an actual snowstorm) interrupted your routine. Where were you? What did you do with this gift of time?

I was reminded of the wonder of “snow days” on a recent morning in late October. The light dusting of snow on treetops and grassy areas was not enough to keep me home all day, like those blessed blizzards in elementary school that signaled time away from school. But the unexpected sight of a world turned white recalled the freedom of unplanned hours away from routines. Because this snow was accompanied by a dangerous coating of ice on the sidewalks and parking lot, I did enjoy a “snow morning” while everything melted. 

During that morning’s reflection time, my thoughts kept turning back to “snow days.” First, I remembered actual snowstorms, ones that miraculously granted me time to complete junior high English papers or study a bit more for tests. Then I remembered times when, out of nowhere, I had a whole day away from my routine. “Found time,” my friend Tammy calls such experiences. My most dramatic “snow day” memory came floating back. I was on a layover in Thailand in February 2004: 

I had traveled in Vietnam nonstop for a week in my role as coordinator for mission connections for the Church of the Brethren denomination. Finally, I was on my way back to Elgin, Il. I had spent the night on the outskirts of Bangkok and gotten up in the wee hours. But I was not early enough, as it turned out, to catch a catch a 6 a.m. flight back to Chicago O’Hare. Why? Perhaps I misjudged the amount of time to go through the line; the hotel, after all, was connected to the airport. Perhaps I was still trying to comprehend the contrasts I had witnessed in Vietnam: the exquisitely beautiful sights with the horror of war museums. Perhaps I had not factored in time changes.

Nevertheless, there I was at the ticket counter, hearing that I could not rebook until the next day. I had checked out of my hotel, suitcase in hand. What to do next? Fortunately, a well-travelled American couple saw my plight and took me under their wing. Within minutes, I rode with them to downtown Bangkok, checked into the cheaper hotel where they were staying and planned my day. I chose “River Ride” over “Temples and Shopping” and other, less savory, guided tour options. In no uncertain terms, my travelling companions had asked the hotel desk clerk to make sure I was not ripped off by the tour operators ready to show me the city sights.

My “snow day” included several hours cruising the Chao Phraya River in a longtail boat with my own boat driver. (He stopped whenever I declared a “photo emergency,” a picture I wanted to take!) Alongside other river craft, we glided through floating markets, with goods delivered to boats via pulley systems; the boats did not even have to dock. Along the shore were temples and pagodas, all landscaped with tropical flowers. The rhythm of the waves and the everyday sounds of life on the water quieted my heart. Back on shore, lunch was traditional Thai street food. I rested in the afternoon and ate a wonderfully seasoned pasta dish and a decadent dessert in the hotel restaurant for my late dinner. The next morning I was ready to resume my breakneck pace and deadline schedule with a better sense of balance from a perfect day away under the Southeast Asian sun.



  1. Read the above reflection. In your journal, recall a “snow day” or “found day,” where you ventured outside your usual routines. Where were you? What did you do differently? What did you learn?



  1.   Read aloud Session XCVIII.
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt. 


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Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

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