Paradigms: Process and Pains

We have children in our county whose homes have no electricity, meaning no heat and no lights. The only electricity these children experience, the only heat and light they enjoy, is when they come to school.

Our schools were closed as a result of the past weeks’ snowfalls….totaling close to 40 inches.

Yes, you’re following the logic: the children, the ones whose homes have no electricity, were trapped and cold – in their homes. This was their paradigm. This is the lens, the process through which they saw the snow.

Will anyone tell their story? Will anyone listen?

Everyone has a story to tell. My story is unique to me. I had to climb the mountain – twice, dragging and lifting my aged legs through 30-40 inches of snow. Try it four times for about a mile each way. I had a couple of falls, one on my back, and a few slips. Thank goodness for powdered snow and a sense of humor.

On the first climb I quickly learned that my boots, of ankle height, were too short for the snow. Every time I stepped into the deep snow, the legs of my jeans were lifted by the snow. The cold snow assaulted my leg and fell into the boot. As the snow crept deep into my boots, my feet began to freeze.

Cold is brutal. Was this what the children experienced?

Add to this, my socks were old and well worn. With every movement of the boot and snow falling inside, my socks fell down around the soles of my feet – they offered no protection. By the time I reached the top of the mountain the cold was excruciating. I wondered about the children, were they this cold?

When I took my boots off, I realized I had more than cold to worry about. The leather inside the boots had cut into my ankles. On the left ankle I had a half-inch cut. On the right leg I had a two and one-half inch wound. The leather had simply worn away the flesh on both ankles. My boot, ironically, was not filled with blood; because of the snow, the blood was frozen against my leg.

The cuts did not hurt. The snow hurt. I got into the shower as quickly as I could to warm and wash the wounds on my feet. I wondered if the children had warm water.

My best friend was out-of-town during the snow. An extrovert, my friend was doing what an extrovert does well – not listening. I wanted to share what I had just experienced, the magnitude of the snowfall, my challenge, my pain. I also wanted to talk about the children.

When I said, “You’ve no idea what has been going on,” my friend said, “Oh yes, I do – I’ve been watching TV.”

“Oh really?” I responded; I needed someone to listen – to care.

“Yes, I do know,” was my friend’s reply. I remained silent.

My mind wandered. I wondered about the children.

Pain.

Listen.

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