Snow Days and Found Time

February 21, 2023

The prediction is that this part of the world will get 20-30 inches of snow this week. Fresh snow everyday beginning Monday and continue snowing through Thursday. I chuckled Monday morning when I looked at the hourly forecast and read “Snow stopping in 39 minutes, starting again in 7 minutes.” I thought about setting the timer on my phone.

When I was decades younger, this kind of weather meant rearranging schedules and planned activities and figuring out how to do what must be done. Would school be cancelled? What would be the easiest, safest way to get to work? Do we have enough milk? Or in more recent years, I called my Dad to make sure he was ok and wouldn’t be venturing out.

During the years of raising children and working full-time, the pre-retirement years, predictions of debilitating weather certainly raised my anxiety levels.

Now, however, as a privileged woman in her mid70’s, my immediate concerns are far less. Yes, I have a couple dates with friends this week, but we will put a new date on the calendar. And appointments with clients can either be reset or we can meet on zoom. If my church writing group can’t meet this week, I will email them some snow day writing prompts.

I so hope we can get to one of the Ash Wednesday services, but if that isn’t possible I will create my own contemplative time, minus the ashes, and will enter the new season in that way. It won’t be the same, but it will be whatever it is.

In the past I have written about the concept of “found time,” the space that is created when something is cancelled or changed. Instead of feeling frustrated by the necessary and sometimes inconvenient changes, I decided years ago to breathe into that space. Oh, surprise, I have a bit more time to read or write or bake cookies or do nothing at all. And that is how snow days can feel. (Easy for me to say–my husband is the one who does all the shoveling.)

Lately, I have also realized that I can create more “found time” in my life not just on snow days, but on any day, if I am willing to let go of worries and concerns, of a need to control, and to the way I think things should be or the roles I have had in the past.

Christine Valters Paintner is offering a Lent retreat called “A Different Kind of Fast” in which she suggests fasting from what gets in the way of living fully.

  • Multitasking and inattention
  • Anxiety
  • Speed and rushing
  • Strength and holding it all together
  • Planning and deadlines
  • Certainty

If you fasted from any of the items on this list, what would your day look like? How would you feel? In what ways might you become more aware of the movement of God in your life?

Instead of clinging to what feels necessary and familiar, dwelling in the lost, can you rejoice in the found?

How about envisioning this found time as a kind of Sabbath?

God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by subtracting.

Meister Eckhart

More God is the only thing on my list…When you live in God, your day begins when you lose yourself long enough for God to find you, and when God finds you, to lose yourself again in praise.

Barbara Brown Taylor

An Invitation

What does “found time” look like for you? I would love to know.

6 thoughts on “Snow Days and Found Time

  1. Thank you, Nancy. This is a special time of year for people of many religions and I look forward to joining “A Different Kind of Fast” which overlaps with the Baha’i Fast (March 2-20).

    Martha K.S. Patrick Gümüşlük, Muğla, Turkey

    *Gönülden gönüle yol** vardır. *Turkish Proverb From one heart to another there is a path.


  2. Lovely to look at these snow days or any day where there’s cancelled plans as “found time”. I think one of my biggest obstacles is social media (and staying off of it!). I also tend to be a procrastinator.

    I’ve seen on our weather forecast how much snow MN is supposed to be getting. Awful to have to shovel through that much snow. Here in northeast IL, we’re supposed to get ice and freezing rain, which is also horrible. I’m thankful I don’t have to go anywhere tomorrow, but my husband does have to travel to and from work. I will be praying for his safety and also that we don’t lose power from the ice.


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