Tuesday, November 18, 2008


How predictable that I would post on snow today given the blanketing that we got over night and that is still wrapping itself up around my porch like a turtleneck fresh out of the bleach.

And trust me, now that I feel a great obligation to be funny on a regular basis for Andrew, I do have things to say about the "counting it all joy-ness" of getting 7 kids winter-dressed and into the van. What a great math lesson: how many pairs of boots do we have, subtract the number of boots that still fit from last year, multiply by $30 per new pair needed equals how much leftover for the Christmas Hampers we hoped to buy?....

Thank goodness for a good budget that allows for all these things.

But I, as usual, digress. I'm not feeling funny today. Sorry Andrew.

I went out this morning to shovel the driveway clear so that we could go to the store to buy toilet paper. Trust me; had I needed any other item I would have let it wait until the plows came and spring was around the corner. For toilet paper I have walked through the heat of summer and driven in the dead of winter. There comes a point where the kleenex box is empty and using a baby wipe just isn't appealing for a grown up. So out we go.

My darling man had begun the job for me before he left for work at 6:45am and said "It would be great if this was clear when I got home. Get the kids to do it. They'll think it's fun".

And he's right. They were chomping at the bit to help out. I would have none of it though. Somehow it just seemed like my responsibility. I should clean up a mess like that.

So out I go. Now you should know that despite the procrastinating sloppiness that dictates other areas of my life, shovelling snow gets to be a bit of an obsession for me. I know there is sidewalk and driveway under here and I intend to bare it. All of it. Without a speck of fluffy whiteness to marr its complexion. This is very difficult to do when you go out while it is still snowing. Working for 20 minutes and then turning around to see a Hallmark Card dusting over the part I just cleared is frustrating to say the least. Determined to clean up and make it right I begin to tackle the rest of the driveway before I fix the sidewalk, again.

Then I hear it. My neighbour's snow blower. Then I hear this "Hi there Barbara! How about letting me do that for you? I could be done it in 4 passes."

Now here is a funny thing. I say no. Huh? say what?

No kidding. I try to get him to not do it because, I say, "There is something peaceful and therapeutic about doing this on a crisp day like this". And I'm not even kidding. That was serious.

He will not relent and insists on helping so I can go back and warm up. So what do I do? I smile and say thank you. And then to punish myself for not doing that front bit, I go back and shovel off the patio THAT WE WON'T USE UNTIL JUNE.

Why? What do I mean "therapeutic"? Why did I feel a building resentment that he was doing this work for me? Why do I think Chris would be any happier knowing I had done it rather than the neighbour? Why wouldn't I let my kids do it like a game. Why do I need it to be so perfectly clear?

So the Lord shows me a picture of my state of heart.

"Will you not just stop? You CANNOT do it. You cannot make yourself clean, or good enough, or perfect. You will NOT be done this side of heaven. You cannot get rid of all the sin in your heart. You do not need to reject the support and help and discipleship of others. Just let yourself accept help."

Hmmm. So picture snow as my sin. I try and try and try in all futility to make it go away and look like it is June. Meanwhile there is more and more coming down all around me. Snow won't go until the sun shines down and melts it away, just as my sin won't go until the Son makes me clean and whole.

I feel the need to do it myself, not admit that I need help. I don't want Chris to do it for me when he comes home. I don't want the neighbour to help. I want to be able to fix it. Except it is impossible. There is a simpler solution for me. In this case it is called Faith. And Community. And Trust. Apparently I'm running short on all those things.

Chris is reading a hefty book called "The Politics of Guilt and Pity" by Rushdoony. He talks in there about the different faces of "self-atonement". If I can make myself suffer enough then maybe I can justify myself as well.

That same funny Andrew made a bunch of us cry like girls last year when he shared a story of a life-threatening nature. The punchline of it was as he was nearly drowned he reached his hand out of the water to be pulled up and out to safety by a friend. At the time, and again this morning, I just was struck by how much I need to submit to that. The Lord uses His people to shape and support and change me. Chris is the most incredible husband in this and I am so grateful for his loving, faithful working to present me blameless and without blemish on the last day. With him I can shout "HELP" and know that he will just swoop in like the Knight in Shining Armour.

But this community thing. This is harder. When I come together with my worship arts friends I am struck by how much I need them too. Sometimes I'll need them to come alongside and shovel with me. Othertimes I'm sure they will tell me to go inside and warm up while they carry the burden for me. I don't want to need them. Just like I don't want to need a Saviour.

Funny, that. The most incredible gifts and I'm tempted to say no thanks.

Fortunately for me, I serve a relentless God. He will not let me work my way towards Him. His plans will not be thwarted. Mine? well, that's another story.

So Thank You Lord, for a husband who is one with me and who will not let me wallow in my wrong thinking, who directs me to You and leads our family with love and truth.

And Thank You Lord for a body of believers that I am loving more and more every moment, who I can trust with the details of my life, and who will also give wise counsel, praying for me and helping in practical ways.

And Thank You Lord for your unending, longsuffering, everpresent Spirit who has chased and pursued me, who is dwelling within me, and who is slowly making me more and more like Christ.


halfpint said...

Well! I'm glad you got snow so you could go through all of that in your heart and mind, phew! On a side note, we have no snow yet but I hear we might get some tommorrow. That means..... get the rest of the leaves up and bagged, lawn chairs and bikes downstairs etc. Alas, no garage here :) hugs, L.

Anonymous said...

Wow. What a thought; that we say "no" to a relentless Saviour when He offers us help. I know that this is often the case in my life-- why the heck do I ever think I can do it all on my own?! Thanks for sharing that metaphor. I'll be chewing on this for a bit.

Kellie said...

Great analogy. Loved reading this today.

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

Ok, so not to take away from a post with some really good spiritual application. But you say you aren't going to be funny and then you say something like this RIGHT after:

"For toilet paper I have walked through the heat of summer and driven in the dead of winter. There comes a point where the kleenex box is empty and using a baby wipe just isn't appealing for a grown up. So out we go."

To be clear, it's not even the topic that makes me laugh, rather, it's the poetic nature of your writing about such a non-poetic subject as T.P.