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  • Writer's pictureRyne

The Gift You Didn't Need to Give - Day 12 of the 30 Days of Thankfulness

Last Sunday I looked at the weather forecast for the coming week. Monday - snow, Thursday - snow. Monday morning the projections for Thursday were 3”-5” and by Monday afternoon those projections grew to 8”-12”.

When it’s November and you live in North Dakota, it’s not shocking that snow is in the forecast, it isn’t even shocking when the forecast is 8”-12”. What was shocking to many of us is that it had been so nice only a week ago. I even wrote about it on Day 2 of the 30 Days of Thankfulness.

By Wednesday morning, people in our school district were talking about not holding in-person classes on Thursday because of the impending storm. Projects had grown to 12”-18” possible. By Wednesday night, the decision had been made to have a virtual school day on Thursday and, as predicted, the freezing rain had started and the roads were turning into skating rinks.

There was still greenish-brown grass in our front yard as the lights went out on Wednesday night.

Linnea was the first to wake up on Thursday morning and she burst into our room giddy with excitement. “There’s so much snow outside,” she said.

What she didn’t know was that the four inches that had fallen overnight was only the start. By the end of the day on Thursday, official reports were a nearly record-breaking 24 inches of snow blanketed the Bismarck-Mandan area.

Two feet!

Everything was shut down.

If you’re not from North Dakota and you’re reading this, I want to assure you that two feet of snow in one day, while not completely unheard of, is absolutely not the norm. Last spring we had a three-day blizzard that dropped 28”-30” over the three days.

Throughout the evening on Thursday and the morning on Friday, I spent a number of hours behind my snowblower, cutting pass after pass of snow creating massive piles outside the driveway.

Some of the time was spent wondering why we put up with blizzards and wondering why we choose to go through this instead of moving somewhere warmer. Most of the time, however, was spent being thankful that I have a snowblower that runs great and is able to handle the snow in my driveway with ease.

When Rachel and I first moved into our house, my dad had just purchased a new snowblower for himself. He gave us his old one and I loved that we had a working snowblower that was a gift. When I’d have trouble with it, dad always knew how to fix it (or where to take it) because he had that snowblower for my entire life.

But Rachel and I have this drift that always forms when the winds blow during a snowstorm, and even only a few inches of snow can leave a drift that is a couple of feet deep.

Dad’s snowblower was good, but it was too small. One day, three winters ago, I was chatting with a coworker about the snow that we’d both had to move earlier that morning. He said that he had been gifted a snowblower from his dad but that he didn’t need it since he had his own.

And then he offered it to me.

As my now bigger and more powerful snowblower barreled through drifts of snow that would’ve been a struggle for my first snowblower I had lots of time to think. I thought about my dad who graciously gave his snowblower up so that I could have one when we moved into our first house. I thought about my coworker's dad who was no longer using his and gifted his snowblower to his son. And then I thought about my coworker who generously saw a need and met a need.

There has long been a culture of neighbors helping neighbors when big storms hit. People across the Bismarck-Mandan area spent hours helping others to clean out driveways and sidewalks. People put down their shovels to help push cars that got stuck in the tall snow. But it’s clear that the culture of helping your neighbor is greater than an isolated event, it’s often a way of life.

Thinking about all of the people that have taken care of us helped me to realize exactly why snow blowing and blizzards haven’t scared us out of the state because we are surrounded by great people that continue to show tremendous love.


"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

- Matthew 6:21


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