Waiting for Snow In Havana or How A Rock Fight Is Also The Proof Of God

Waiting for Snow in Havana

I love a true story.

I am a total sucker for a real life story that is told well.

I am amazed by people who can make me remember that the most minute details of this life are beautiful.  Even breathtaking.

When I finished Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire, I was sad for it to be over.  I could not have a more vivid picture of his childhood in Cuba if I had lived it myself.  Every exquisite detail is there, even the dust in the air.  I can still close my eyes and picture his home.  But in all the detail, somehow he managed to create a suspense in the story that made me want to hurry and get to the next chapter, the next event.

A brilliant literary detail in this book was that the author had these threads running through his stories that connected them all to a deeper story.

One of these threads was that he kept listing random details that were to him, evidence of God.

It could be something as little as a lizard or as grand as his fleeing Cuba.  It was getting his head stuck in a church pew.  It was the kindness of a foster family in Florida.

It is very subtle though, sneaking into your consciousness.  I have found myself thinking in this same way.

When someone changed my flat tire for me this week, unasked, I thought to myself, and that is my first proof for the day of God’s existence.

I usually think of those things as gifts, as blessings that I am supposed to count.  Add to my list.

But I kind of like the idea of looking at the gifts as the very proof that God exists.

He is calling to me through the kindness of someone else or by the light of the glowing moon,

Do you see that I am here?

Also, I had to love this book for the pure, unadulterated insanity of the boys.  Now that I have three sons, I am not at all baffled by the stunts that the author and a pack of boys pulled in their childhood.  Rock fights and firecrackers were part of the normal landscape.  My dad grew up with three brothers, and several of the stories in this book paralleled ones I’ve heard my dad tell.

I appreciate these tales all the more for how they tend to bottle a freedom that in many ways, no longer exists.  My boys are growing up in a society where the pendulum has swung so much towards breaking this wildness in boys that there can be consequences for picking up a rock, much less throwing one.

The boys in this book are actually aiming rocks at one another.  On purpose.  The rock fight was over when someone was bleeding so badly that everyone had to stop throwing rocks and tend the injured.

I immediately passed this book off to my father, who, incidentally, managed to smash his face on a  rock this very week.  He has graduated from rock fights with his brothers to actually fighting the rocks themselves.

That he is still alive is one of my proofs of the existence of God.


  1. For a second I thought to ask, “awesome book! can I borrow it? is it in English or in Spanish?” DUH! I didn’t take my vitamins today. Love the connection with 1000 Gifts! Beautiful prose. 😉

  2. Thanks for the book recommendation- definitely sounds like my kind of read. And I wonder about the lack of wildness in our kids lives as well, what type of generation we are bringing up. It is hard to know if the trade off is worth it sometimes. I’ve been following your blog for a while and I always appreciate your thoughts.

  3. OK, have to read that one. My dad was a boy in Cuba- my grandad was in charge of the US evacuation and we grew up with stories of Cuba and eating lots of yummy food from friends who’d left. Sounds wonderful.

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