Shoveling Tears


“…You will surely wear yourself out.  For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself.” Exodus 18:18

The unpleasant part of snow is the act of shoveling it.  And with the twelve inches we received, there was a lot to clear.   I didn’t realize just how much until I was knee deep in it with my lone shovel.  My neighbors on both sides were out working as well.  One even had a snow plow but only cleared his driveway and the space in front of their house.

Looking at the couples working together made me so blue that I started crying.  It was another reminder for me that my husband was dead.  I turned up my Ipod and my resolve and tried to focus on finishing the daunting task of clearing our lengthy driveway.  My back and legs were starting to ache from heaving the heavy snow.

I had a ways to go when my neighbor from across the cul de sac came over, shovel in hand, and starting helping.  Much of the time we worked alongside one another in silence as day turned to dusk.  He encouraged me to go on in, but  I couldn’t leave him to do my job alone.   He had already worked a full day, shoveled his own drive, and then came to help with ours–three times the size of his. I felt:

  • Gratitude for his kindness
  • Sadness that my husband couldn’t shovel with me
  • Blessed that God put it on his heart to do so
  • Embarrassment for being a damsel in distress

I also wondered how I could pay him back?  I hate the feeling of “owing” someone.  Thank you just seems so…well, not enough.  But then I thought about a few  of the neighborly exchanges we’ve had over the years.  During the fall we would always send one of the boys over to help him in the yard.  I had also given his toddlers sons a barely used expensive train table.  And when his teenage son often lost his key, we always welcomed him to sit at our house until someone came home.

So maybe he was just paying it forward. 

I know I need to learn how to accept help and be okay with it.  Could this be why God keeps putting me in predicaments where I need assistance from others in order for me to get over myself?

Still, I think I’ll make cookies for him and his family to show my appreciation…

6 responses »

  1. That would be a very nice gesture, and he and his family would appreciate it.

    I was single for many years in my 30’s, eight years in fact. At first, I too felt like a damsel in distress. Over time that feeling left me and I forged ahead doing things on my own. If someone was kind enough to offer assistance ie shoveling walks, I took the offer. It did not happen that often. I had an elderly lady live next door and she was in her 90’s. I would shovel her walks and mine, if I did not, she would be out there shoveling her walks. She was truly amazing. There was a single man across the street in his 30’s, that never once shoveled her walks, nevermind mine. When I moved into my house, I was feeling abit overwhemled on my own. One day I looked outside and she was up on her ladder cleaning her eavesdroves. At that point, I thought to myself “damn it, now I can’t get away with anything”. I realized if she is 90 something and she can do that, I have no excuse not to be able to do anything. Ha Ha

    I don’t mean to take away from the way you felt, as it is totally understandable. You had someone in your life that helped you in situations like snow shoveling etc. It takes time to adjust to change, and be comfortable with what is. Life has shown you, that there are people that are there for you when you truly need them.

    I, like you are uncomfortable asking for help. Sometimes we have to and there is nothing wrong with that.

  2. i was thinking cookies. cookies are always nice. but, you already have a helpful neighborly relationship. i’m positive he’s not expecting anything in return. the same way you don’t expect anything in return when you let his older son into your house when he’s locked out. it’s the kindness of giving. accept it. and make cookies =) mmm… cookies.

  3. When I was divorced I received lots of help from neighbors. That was just the type of neighborhood we lived in. It sounds like you and your neighbor already have a “neighborly” relationship. I’m sure he’s not expecting anything in return, which will make the cookies even more appreciated.

  4. Right now I am just feeling sorry for myself . I know that there are a lot of single people in the world who do things by themselves all the time. However, I have to get used to being one of them! I just truly miss my husband…

  5. Oh, Morocco, I can so relate to not knowing how to accept help from others. I rarely accept help from anyone other than my family, and I always want to do something in return. My friend, Dawn, has really helped me learn to accept her generosity without feeling guilty.

    Of course you miss your husband. I am still so sorry that these awful things happened to you. Peace and Prayers.

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