Snow, insurance, and people named Robert: such were the hallmarks of this variably busy week at St. Anthony’s.

The inadvertent gathering of Roberts headlined this week just past, as our volunteer hosts came together not only for fellowship but also for the task of revising our written hosting guidelines. Three of those so gathered bear the name Robert, as, of course, does Just Bob, who was here of a Sunday’s evening to keep a watchful eye on the snow situation.

The snow remained at bay, and we were blessed with a gloriously lovely Monday for our volunteer appreciation mass, luncheon, and white elephant gift exchange. Our mass involved much spirited singing; our luncheon involved much cheerful chatter; and our gift exchange involved much sublime silliness. (Note: the next time you see Fr. Bob, ask him about the ever-popular Christmas song “The Scales of Justice.”)

After Monday’s excitement, the house took a collective breath, presenting all in our community three days to catch up or look ahead on professional and personal projects alike.

In the trivialities of these placid midweek days, whilst ruminating on the irregularities of radiant heat, we discovered the surprising fact that Marge’s morning-sun-drenched room, located above a meeting space that remains unheated when not in use, holds heat better than my setting-sun-drenched room, located above the always-warm kitchen. How strange are the dynamics of a big brick house full of quirky radiators.

Strange, too, are the byzantine corridors of the land of health insurance benefits, into which Cecilia and I both nearly disappeared during the placid midweek days of this week just past. It is with much rejoicing that I report that both Cecilia and I have emerged unscathed from our respective navigations of these complex waters known as health insurance and the benefits thereof.

But most strange of all is the unseasonably shrinking snow cover – in spite of the seasonably cold coldness. The rains of late December took their toll on our 24 inches of snow, pounding them into a thin veneer of white resting uneasily on an autumn earth. When Fr. Bob announced his intention of going snowshoeing on Thursday, I noted that the snowshoes had been largely unnecessary on my own trek through Tuesday’s woods. Boots alone would surely have sufficed for my walk and would surely suffice for his. “Yes,” he responded, “but it sounds better to say that I went snowshoeing than to say that I went for a walk.”

Indeed it does.

And so today I insisted on taking eight minutes to affix cumbersome and largely unnecessary snowshoes to my feet, instead of simply taking a walk in our not-quite-snowy woods.

And what of the snow that has been popping in and out of Saturday-night-into-Sunday morning’s forecast? How will it affect (or fail to affect?) our current snow cover? The morrow will tell. With patience I wait.

Patience always, as time and the goodness of God bring surprises big and small -but never insignificant –  to a placid world or a busy world: a world bursting always with beauty, delight and much for which to give thanks.

Deo Gratias!