The first time for anything seems to be the watershed moment of our lives. First time riding a bike without training wheels. First time driving solo in a car. First kiss, firstborn, first marriage…well maybe not that. But you must admit that when you think back about most first times you remember them with pleasure.
The other day I saw a great picture in the newspaper. It was just a snapshot. The shot was of the Reverend Lawrence Emmareddy of India. Now I don’t know Father Larry at all. I am sure that he doesn’t know I exist. He has been at St Nicholas Church in the area for the past three years. I know from his picture that I would like him, though.
I have lived in Northeast Pa for 26 years now; I was born in New England. I have lived with, cursed at and been totally ticked off by snow for many of those years. I can’t remember my delight at my first snowfall as I was probably a month old.
But Reverend Emmareddy remembers.
The picture shows him in a snowstorm. His first.
His hands are palms up, his head is tilted back and, yes, his tongue is out and he is catching snow flakes on his tongue. His face is exuding what can only be described as rapture.
Maybe the whole sum of human existence is contained in that snapshot. We are put on this earth under circumstances that we don’t understand. We go through our four score and some years of life and then we die under equally mysterious circumstances.
What makes this passage have meaning? What is it in life that makes us better and nobler than the beasts and birds?
I read once that man is the only animal that cries or has to.
I don’t know if that’s true or not.
But I know man is the only animal that would stand out in a snowstorm and stick his tongue out.
And for that I am glad to be counted as a human.