Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.
And the God of peace will be with you.
So, having set the stage... I just came back in after shoveling. Again. We only got a couple of inches of snow overnight, but when the snowplow runs by, it leaves a mound of slushy, icy, snowy mix at the foot of the driveway. Knowing the cold that's coming, I thought it a good idea to get rid of that mound while the shovel could still get it. By tomorrow morning it will be solid ice. And tomorrow my husband gets home from a month-long training exercise, so I want everything to be, you know, perfect. Perfect is not driving over an ice mogul.
And therein, lies this post. Imagine. I am out in the dusk of morning shoveling snow for the umpteenth time this winter. I know it could be worse. I could be in Boston where the snow totals for the winter are less, but the amount they're getting each day is catching them up quickly. I could be in a more urban setting where I have to dig my car out of snow every day. So I am, first and foremost, thankful. I am thankful that I have the get-up-and-go to do what needs to be done. I am thankful for warm clothes and a warm place to go when I'm done. I am thankful for the beauty of the white blanket.
But it also causes me to think. Call it cheesy - but I think of this snow and this shoveling as a metaphor for my Christian life. It is cheesy; in an I'm-laughing-at-myself-come-along-on-the-journey kind of way, but bear with me. This kind of thinking gets me through my morning chore, maybe it'll get you through something....
First - I feel like I'm shoveling the same stuff over and over. The snowpiles by the side of the drive, by the sidewalk, by my porch and patio, by the road are getting deep. I watch a shovel-ful of white tumble and roll from the top and sides of these winter hills. Right back to the place I need it the least. Isn't that what happens to us sometimes? Don't our best intentions, our well-meaning, well-organized, well-laid-out lives sometimes come tumbling down. Sometimes the disappointment of goals not met snowballs right to our feet.
So, what to do. I find I have to work a little harder - take the shovel a little further - find a pile a little lower. See, it doesn't stop me from doing what needs to be done, I just have to take a different way.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)
Here I am, still shoveling, still thinking about this Christian life, and the snow is starting to fall more heavily. It's covering all of my good work, the driveway is covered with a gauzy film of white. But, I think, the biggest task is completed. The good work is at least begun. I took the snowplow leavings from the end of the driveway and deposited them across the road, on top of the much-lower-than-mine snow banks.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:4-6 (NIV)
I really want to feel a sense of accomplishment. A sense of pride. So here's the biggest thought I have. What if the sun came out? What if it lit up the sky and warmed the air? What if it came out long enough for some of these snowbanks to melt?
I have come into the world as a light,
so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
John 12:46 (NIV)
Wouldn't you know, I walked back into the house feeling pretty good about the last hour. Cheesy as it may seem, I chose joy because I chose him. You know, I really do try to keep my mind, my thoughts on him.
PS Ok, so what I forgot to say when I walked back in the house this morning, was that while I was changing out of my shoveling clothes, the snow started coming down in that inch-an-hour-lake-effect way that it can. By the time my daughter and I left for work, there was another two inches on the driveway and another you-know-what hump at the road. I have since come home and shoveled again, thinking about this post and my 'lessons' from the snow. All clear, salted (and oh! that's another thing - kind of like light....get it? Salt and light?) AND it's snowing again! If I didn't know before (and I did, but that's a whole 'nother bunch of stories), I would certainly recognize that God has a GREAT sense of humor! So, just to make sure it's clear - the 'cheesy' wasn't used in disrespect - it was my weird-sense-of-humor-laughing-at-myself-because-I-keep-seeing-relationship-in-EVERYTHING! I honestly hope y'all are having fun along with me!
Linking with Lyl on Thought Provoking Thursday