I live in a part of London that, well, doesn’t have the best of reputations. I hear tell it was much, much worse a decade or so ago, but it still feels a little bit, shall we say, gritty. I don’t feel like I’m at any particular risk here, but I also hear stories of gangs battling it out in the area, racial tensions, petty crime. There have been a few drug-related police visits to my streets, a couple of times I’ve witnessed people shouting at each other in public… though my street is new and modern and clean, unsavoury characters have been known to roam by.
Because of this reputation, I try to be smart. I don’t walk at night unless I’m going somewhere, and I avoid my beautiful enormous neighbourhood park after dark if I’m alone. Just basic common sense stuff that, to be fair, I should probably do even if I were living in an area with a stellar upscale image.
So, today, it snowed. All day long, a steady stream of perfect puffy snowflakes has been falling. We’ve accumulated a good four inches and it’s pure snow, no ice, the soft stuff that feels like cotton when you walk on it. It’s a perfect snow day. And it’s a Sunday, which means no kids have school and few grown-ups have work. I spent a good portion of the afternoon sitting on my sofa simply staring out at the snow falling on a winter wonderland. White trees, white-capped bushes, smooth layers covering grass and car park alike. It’s pretty much breathtaking.
You know how when it snows, the whole world feels brighter after the sun goes down? That’s what it was like today. So when darkness fell for the day, I couldn’t resist. I decided to go out for a walk. At first, I was going to diligently avoid the park, even though I imagined it was absolutely glorious. So I walked around the park – and as I walked around I heard voices coming from within. Kids, grown-ups, teens – all sounded very happy. So I decided to venture in. I found about a dozen snowmen, dogs running around, youth sledding down the park’s enormous hills, families out for an evening walk. The park was alive. There were people of all skin colours, speaking an assortment of different languages, and everyone was just enjoying the quiet white expanse, broken only by the innocent acts of human pleasure.
And I was not at all scared to walk in the park at night. The thought of anything sinister happening on a magical night like this was beyond the scope of my imagination. All the diversity of the area came together to celebrate God’s glory.
I thought of how the Bible talks about how our sins will be washed white as snow. There really is something to the cleansing power of snow, isn’t there!
Apologies for my poor camera, but I still wanted to share at least a snippet of the glory of my park…!