The snow started falling just as the school day was beginning. The forecast was for snow throughout the day, but not enough to warrant sending students home early. After the usual reminders about no sledding or snowballs at recess and lunch break, the students went out to enjoy this relatively novel event—a gift to be sure. I went outside as well, to enjoy the students enjoying the snow. By about half-way through lunch break, I stopped to take in what was going on. There were some amazing snowmen, snow forts and large snow-spheres (some nearly a a meter in diameter) being created. Most wonderful was the incredible cooperation and problem solving going on.
It takes teamwork to roll a ball of snow to a meter in diameter! As I watched all this going on, it seemed like one of those moments when, to quote one of my favorite authors, “God is in His heaven, and all is right with the world.”
The next day, the snow had stopped falling and what was left on the ground had melted. Only the large balls and forts remained. I went outside again, looking forward to experiencing more of the joy of the day before. But, the mood had changed. Students were guarding their forts and setting up passwords to only allow certain people in. Accusations of stealing balls were heard. Personal or group claims on particular balls were made. All the factors of supply and demand, limited resources and property ownership came into play. I spent most of my time mediating conflict.
Still, the joy of the day before could not be diminished. Our brokenness comes out and we need to deal with it. But reconciliation is possible and good learning happened. Even in this, it was possible to learn what it means to shape God’s world.