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ashovelWe have 30 inches of snow on the ground this morning, more than any time since 1961. I am itching to get out and shovel some of it. I made it about 20 feet yesterday afternoon from our door to the edge of the driveway, but that effort was tiny compared to what lies ahead on the driveway itself – and the back deck and  the roof…Happily we have a faithful “St. Joseph” who will arrive soon to begin digging us out.

This may sound contrived but I actually had thoughts this morning that compared our situation to the spiritual life. There are sometimes “mountains” of distractions and temptations to laziness or worse in the everyday. Trying to figure out how to plow through them all sometimes seems too difficult and the effort too exhausting. Just picking up the shovel is a major achievement. Once the first step is taken, however, the next seems less monumental. That happened for me yesterday as I stood on the front stoop and lifted the first shovelful of snow. It was very light and fluffy! “Great,” I thought. “I’ll make quick work of this!” I was dismayed as I progressed because there was so much to clear away at every step and bend-and-lift got more tiring as I worked. Miraculously, I succeeded in opening a somewhat narrow path to the driveway and felt rather pleased with myself. Looking out this morning I see that there is still evidence of my work although it will take a second round to make it passable again. No matter. The effort was its own reward.

There are so many comparisons one might make in attempting to live a good life. Mine may not speak to anyone else but whatever gets us to “pick up the shovel” is worth consideration if it moves us just one more step toward God.