If my mother were still alive, around November, she would be reminding us of the Armistice Day Blizzard that swept the Midwest on November 11, 1940. A day which had been relatively mild at the start, turned deadly. Forecasters predicted cooler weather moving in, with a few flurries. Instead, weather patterns merged, collided and pressure in barometers fell to record low readings. Some would refer to the day as an inland hurricane. Heavy snow and winds arrived without warning, burying cars, stopping trains and inundating roads. Temperatures plunged and people caught without resources, died.
But, none of that was known as people woke to a mild Monday morning, many enjoying the holiday, commemorating the signing of the Armistice to end World War I. For my mother, an ordinary day teaching in her one room school took a frightening turn. Just nineteen years old, she was responsible for the well being of all the children. Later, describing the day, she would talk about bringing in what wood was in the pile outside the school. With winds and snow swirling, drifting them in, she knew they were trapped. She would tell us how she planned to burn the desks and books, if they had to.
When I think of her today, I think of how anxious this young nineteen-year-old woman must have been, as roads become impassable. Her mind frantically thinking of ways to manage being snowed in at the school, with limited wood for the stove and no extra food. It must have been an incredibly frightening time. Watching, waiting, hoping for rescue, not knowing if it was coming.
What she didn’t know, was a rescue was in the planning. Two neighboring farmers were thinking of her and the children. Digging out horse driven sleighs that still lingered in their yards, and plow horses that worked their fields, they set off in tandem for the school. I think of the relief my mother felt when the two farmers walked through the doors, very late that afternoon. They gathered up the children and my mother, taking them to safety in their homes for the duration of the blizzard.
I’m reminded of the all the times and ways that God has rescued me. Bringing people into my life, who have offered grace, compassion and love.
These emissaries of God, enter reminding us that we are not alone, in our fears and worries. Far from forgetting us, God is preparing a way we know nothing of.
“Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare. Psalm 40:5