Jim heads my way and I am thankful. I see him coming and I whisper a silent thanks to my Heavenly Father for sending goodness my way. This year’s snow is heavy and I am storing my own heavy from an emotionally hard fall season and love of almost all things sugary. Jim gives me a look and I am immediately taken back to life as a teenager. His kind and patient look says; you and your shovel will have to move if machine and man are to take over. In other words, get out of the way. I’ve got this. And so I move and simultaneously I hear my dad’s words; You don’t stop working as long as some one else is working. And so I move up the driveway and shovel from there. Jim heads my way and I move to the walk of my neighbors and being shoveling there. Jim heads my way again. My driveway now finished and I move once more to a different sidewalk. The one leading to my neighbor’s porch and I shovel there. Work to be done. Plenty to do. Not stopping while someone else is working. Helping neighbors. Building community. Blessings coming in the form of man and machine. So often appearing when you are in need and almost always when you make sure your eyes are wide open watching for them tumbling your way.
I wrote about Jim last year. This year is almost identical. Same story. Same kindness. Same consistency of doing something for others. Not self. He practices building a kind and caring community versus isolation and me-only thinking. Laying boards for bridges instead of bricks for walls. Using what has been given to be shared with others. Gifts, tools, talents and stuff not selfishly hoarded away.
Community building takes work. Hard work. Selfless work. We want it in the worst way as we almost scream for connection, and a caring community to have our backs and ease our burdens. But yet we hang on tight to old thought patterns. Old stuff. And mind numbing habits. We take comfortable on and we like it. We buy the lie that we don’t have time, we won’t have enough, and well we certainly won’t risk getting hurt again. We use our energy in all the wrong places. I can’t. I won’t. I’m not going to. It’s too hard. All become the not so silent whisper of the Thief. Fabrications repeated and weaved over time that somehow become almost truth I get it. I do. But listened to over time, those lies steal joy, blessings in front of your face, and a call to something greater than yourself. A life that is certainly not easy, but a life that is lived beyond self building a beautiful community. Healthy community takes work. Work to be done. Plenty to do. Not stopping while someone else is working.
Thank you Jim, once again, for giving of self and stuff to ease the burden of foot deep snow piled heavy and thick at the bottom of a driveway. Thank you too, Carl Osterbaan, for teaching me how to work. It continues to be one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.
Joy today. And always. As you find your way back to what matters.