“Hey buddy. What are you doing? Are you putting snow in the freezer?!”

“Yes”, he said, “I am saving it for summer!”

I laughed and called him Olaf and wondered how I was going to make room for long-term snow storage.

In the midst of frozen meat, ice cubes, veggies, bananas, a random popsicle and the frozen containers full of mystery, there’s just not a lot of room for snow. I told him I wasn’t sure how long it was going to be able to be in the freezer. He seemed to understand.

It’s still in there. Looking just like snow. I was a little surprised to see it had not changed. I mean it makes sense, cold snow in the cold freezer probably keeps pretty well, but every time I open the freezer I check the snow. It’s been a cool experiment but at some point I will have to make room in the freezer for things that will actually fill our bellies.

I have snow in storage. It may not look like snow and its not in plastic containers in the freezer but I have it saved and its kept just fine. It looks the same as when I gathered it and put it in a cold place.

I gather up the unkind reply, the perceived shun, the unmet expectations and I store them so they will keep. As I pick up each snowball I have the same feelings as when I put the snowball in storage; I feel sad, mad and discarded. I keep these balls of white snow for another day I guess? I bring them out in summer and as long as I don’t keep them out too long and put them right back in my cold heart they will keep forever.

Doubt likes to keep my freezer stocked, he says it keeps me from being disappointed. Which is true, I guess, but it also keeps me from hope and warmth. The snow ends up being some sort of defense, a wall of cold to keep hurt (and hope) out.

I am tired of being cold. If the truth about how I am loved completely and wholly can just get an edge into my heart and begin to melt the snow, then maybe just maybe, there’s room for hope. Maybe if I unload the snow my heart will begin to feel warmth again. If there’s room for truth, hope and grace – the things that will actually sustain my heart, instead of flash freeze it, I can do more than hoard snow; I can actually live a life-giving life instead of a frigid existence.

Are your fingers cold from gathering snowballs? What is in your heart? There will be unmet expectations in the coming days. There will be unkind replies and moments when we feel shunned. What will you do with those snowballs? Will you store them? Will I pick them up, pat them to make sure the snowball stays together and then put them in a cold place and bring them out again next Christmas to lob at friends and family? Or will we allow hope to kick doubt out and melt our defenses?