I got an email from one of my students from China who recently moved to the Arizona. She is missing the rice, her friends and the cheap price of haircuts.

So I wanted to mail her a gift.


Yeah, I know. A bit impossible.

She has never seen it, tasted it, or experienced getting hit in the face with a ball of it while waiting for the bus.

So I found an end of the season pile of snow, one that was white, not soot covered. Which, in Chicago, is hard to do.

I picked up a handful and took a look.

I could never wrap the limited amount of brain cells that there is an infinite amount of snowflake designs, each one a unique creation. There has to be some reason behind that.

Snow flakes must be recycled tears.

Each one has a tear jerking story behind it.

According to the Psalms, God keeps our tears. He knows the reason behind each one and saves it in a jar. The one from falling off your bike as a kid. When you had the family dog put to sleep. Finding a note in your locker from your 8th grade boyfriend that he wanted to break up.

But just maybe, God doesn’t store our tears forever in heaven.  Being the environmentalist that He is, maybe God  turns our tears into snowflakes, allowing our sorrow to melt away and give birth to spring.

It makes sense in a Hallmark card sort of way.

Think about it.

Blizzards are tears shed by mothers who have lost their sons to war. Slight flurries are from fighting friends turned enemies.  Super-sized flakes that land on your eyelashes are tears from  farewells. For the fifty words Eskimos have for snow, there are tears from bee stings, malignant tumors,  onions, bullying, bad grades, spilled milk, root canals and the end of the movie ET. And lake effect snow from now where? Tears from PMS mood swings, of course.

I thought about all of my tears from last year, the downpour beginning in March. A massacre at the Kunming train station. The disappearance of Malaysian flight number 370. The spilling of my husband’s heart. By May, it was a full blown monsoon.

And the pain of those events can still grip me like winter.

But if God recycles each tear into snow, I have hope my pain will one day bloom into daffodils.

You might question my theory.

But if  we believe a ground hog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania can predict the arrival of spring, why can’t we believe that each snowflake has a unique story behind it?

That’s what I choose to believe.

The handful of tears melted before I got it them into the envelope.  I took a picture and sent it to my student instead along with the verse:

   You keep track of all my sorrows.
    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book.

Psalm 56:8


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