About five months before my twentieth birthday, I asked God for birthday snow. I started to pray for it right after my second year of college started in August, even though it was still hot outside and students walked around campus in flip flops and shorts. At the time, I was having a hard time at school. I was sad and lonely and didn’t have many friends. I often walked around campus with my heavy Chemistry book in my arms feeling sorry for myself. I prayed to God a lot during those times.
“It doesn’t have to be a lot of snow,” I’d call out to Him in my mind. “Just a little will be fine. But please, please may I have snow on my birthday?” I know that God is not the type to get annoyed with our prayers, but sometimes, I wondered if I was asking too much because there was no way He could miss my countless messages. In many ways, I asked for snow so often because I was desperate. I wanted to know that God was out there and that He cared about me. If it snowed, I knew it would mean that He loved me and that everything would be okay. I just needed to keep going to class, keep going to church, and one day, I wouldn’t be so sad and lonely anymore.
The more I asked for birthday snow, the more confident I became that it would happen. One breezy fall afternoon, I told my friend Stephanie, “It’s going to snow on my birthday. I’ve asked God, and I know it’s going to happen. I’m so excited!” Stephanie chuckled. “It’s not going to snow. It doesn’t snow here.” Stephanie was right. Williamsburg, Virginia didn’t get much snow, but this was a special case. I had put in a request for snow on a specific day of the year, and God would not ignore me. “True,” I said, and smiled at her. “But it’s going to snow.”
A few months passed, finals brought the semester to a close and I went home for winter break. When I returned to school in January, I kept an eye on the seven-day weather forecast. There was a cloud that would bring some sort of precipitation on my birthday, January 19. Sometimes that cloud brought rain, and other times, that cloud brought snow. The weatherman’s prediction was too inconsistent for me, so I turned to God and explained the situation. “Please God,” I prayed over and over. “Keep the rain away and make it cold so that it will snow.”
January 19 was a cloudy, grey and cold day that started with a light drizzle. I stared out my dorm window and prayed the rain away. I was so close to getting snow as a birthday gift from God. My cousin, who lived in the dorm across the street from me, hung out with me that morning. I wondered with her about where the snow was and stared at the clouds, waiting for a sign from God. All the elements were in place. If only the right stuff would fall from the sky.
Sometime that afternoon while my cousin and I drove around Williamsburg, it began to snow. I remember sitting in the front passenger seat of her beige Toyota Camry when the first flakes began to fall. I bounced around in my seat with a huge smile on my face. “It’s snowing! I can’t believe it’s snowing. They’re huge flakes! This is so great!” I said. I talked on and on, my face glued to the window, watching my birthday snow float to the ground. I hadn’t felt that happy in a while.
As I walked around campus that afternoon, I felt like I was trapped in a snow globe and that God’s love was wrapped around me. Every step I took felt like a gift from the Lord, and I felt so special. I spent a lot of time outside that day, soaking it all in.
The snow tapered off that night, and I remember that when my friends and I walked to my friend’s dorm, I was the last one inside. Only a few flakes were falling, and I threw my head back, opened my arms and tried to catch them in my mouth to savor the last bit of birthday snow. I looked at the sky as stars began to show themselves as the clouds drifted away, and I felt thankful to my bones. “Thank you, God,” I said. “Thank you for my snow.”
I put my arms down, and looked at my friend Sam who was holding the door open, waiting for me to head inside. I smiled at him, feeling very at peace and happy. I knew I would have a good year.