When I was little, we used to go sledding at the back of our woods. My mom and dad used to tell me not to lie down in the snow. They said I might fall asleep and freeze to death. I loved to curl up in the drifts because, like sand, they formed to my body and, like sand, they reminded me of God. How else can we explain the amazing phenomenon of sand particles or snowflakes? Have you ever really looked at sand: millions of little tiny rocks of all different sizes, shapes and colors. Even when the beach seems to be uniformly brown, each particle retains it own unique personality. Like snowflakes: millions of tiny ice crystals of all different sizes, shapes, and colors.
Now, I am not naive enough to believe that every single grain of sand or snowflake is different. There are only so many ways for water molecules to bond, and only so many ways that rocks can be eroded by those same water molecules. Theoretically, I know they aren’t all different, but I have always remained sane by believing that each piece of sand or snow was like no other. While it was dangerous to fall asleep in the snow and it is probably equally dangerous to fall asleep on the beach, there was a certain amount of comfort in lying there on my belly, prostrate before my God, inspecting [Their] creation. I would use the first finger of my right hand to carefully sift through the frozen snow or the wet sand looking for similarities in the vast array of difference. Everything loses its individuality when looked at in mass, but by looking closer, I could glimpse the chaos of what seemed to be order. I was also looking for reassurance. I wanted to know that it was okay to be a little odd, a little different. I needed confirmation from God that [They] did indeed create difference. From a young age, I was painfully aware of my oddity. Looking at the oddities all around me helped me feel at home. I was that one grain of red sand that you’ll find if you look long enough. I was the one pale blue snowflake in a sea of white.
Sometimes, when I have time now, I like to lie in the grass in my front yard, looking for some things I can’t find. I need proof that God exists. I need proof that oddities are the rule. I need proof that I am okay. I need proof from creation that God, while being amazingly creative, doesn’t make mistakes. I need proof of purpose. I need proof of my existence. I need proof that I am necessary. I need faith. I don’t think I am a mistake or anything nearly as self-absorbed as that, but I wonder why I never found two grains of sand that match, and I wonder how there are so many colors of white in the snow, and I wonder how those tiny bugs that crawl around in my lawn ever find their way in this life. I want to know that this all means something.
I never rested in the snow with any intention of falling asleep. I was much too excited to fall asleep. Falling asleep in the snow is like falling asleep in the Louvre. I was drawn to the drifts, to the dunes, to the grass to quench my own selfish desire to find the place where I belonged: face down and vulnerable in front of my creator in the company of the other oddities of creation. Face down, we are all at [Their] mercy.