I headed outside to shovel a path from the backdoor to the gate. Jerry was already out shoveling and had turned his attention to pulling the snow blower out of the shed and digging a path to the patio where he could start it up. At the time we had about two feet (the storm ended later topping off about 30 inches).
I hummed and sang aloud while I shoveled (with a lot of huffing and puffing). Ania joined me and we dug out cars and talked, strategizing where to put the pile of snow and pushing it over the hill.
The snow blower wouldn’t start. It leaked gas into a mason jar Jerry had set under it. “It’s the carburetor,” Jerry explained. We were on our own. No mechanical assistance in the epic snow, snow, snow storm.
Suddenly, I was flooded with snow storm memories. I could see my step-father, Bud with the gravely, plowing our 1/8 mile country drive and doing it by hand with a shovel when the machine refused to cooperate. We kids ‘helped’ for a few minutes or an hour, when we were older and then took to the hills for a sled ride, which my youngest reminded me of when he said, “Snow storms are supposed to be fun. Not work. I want to go play.” He helped for a bit and then did somersaults off of whatever high ground or out of trees.
Memories of my four year old sister being run over by a tractor trailer sized inter-tube full of teens and popping up unscathed. Snow up to the second story window when we lived in Wyoming. Digging my a narrow path of side walk with walls higher than the top of my head with my siblings when we lived in Colorado. Dad throwing me over a snow drift when we were stranded and hanging on for dear life to my doll. Inching our way across an icy bridge while the lady in front of us kept breaking and sliding. Sitting by the fire drinking hot tea or coffee and reading aloud to my kids or to myself.
What does all this rambling mean? Storms teach me lessons
1.Storms make us slow down. It is up to us to be joyful or miserable in midst of the storm. Many years ago, a freak October snow storm hit, taking our power with it. The kids and I played pioneer days for a week, hunkering down in the family room by the fire place and doing everything by hand like they did in the ‘old days’. We melted water in a pot on the gas stove and kept a few things running on a small generator. It made our world smaller and slower.
2. Storms bring us together (if we let them). My family laughed together as we shoveled. We talked while we worked. Joked. Ania filmed me running down the road and falling in the snow (not sharing that video). I texted and messaged the older kids and they shared videos and pictures with me, comparing snow. Our South Carolina Guire family made funny videos of themselves ‘sledding’ on a dusting of snow and we spoke to them on the phone. Ania and I called out to neighbors when we took a walk to survey the snow.It’s the camaraderie of we are in this together! Or “you too?”
3. We make mistakes in the midst of a storm because we panic and we grow weary in well doing. Sunday, during round two of shoveling the driveway, I was hurling huge shovel fulls of snow over my shoulder like a machine. Progress. Until I turned around and realized I was reburying Jerry’s car. The worse part about it? I did it again a few minutes later. I was so intent on getting to the end of the driveway that I wasn’t thinking straight. “I liked this better yesterday when my arms worked!” I told my husband and when daughter Amerey text me asking how the shoveling went, I said, “My arms fell off and I left them in the snow.”
4. Storms can be triggers. Storms can bring a host of memories, some of times we pulled through, others of times, we felt as if the Red Sea didn’t part for us. We can give into the negative in the midst of the storm like I was when my arms were giving out. We can also take a break and reflect on the times that God gave us joy in the middle of the circumstance.
5. We want other people to grow during the storm, but it is not up to us. You know the feeling you get when someone can help, but they don’t. I often want my kids to see the big picture, to mature in the midst of the storm. It’s not up to me. I might want my teen to pick up the shovel on his own, to make great choices about what he does with his free time. Just because I want it doesn’t mean he is ready to grow. I pray. God does the work.