Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Post Blizzard Parable

New Yorkers often get a bad rap for our in-your-face attitudes and salty vocabularies. And while I admit that I can curse like a truck driver (no disrespect intended to truck drivers), I think we are largely misunderstood. I think we don’t mince words and so honesty is misinterpreted as abrasiveness, because we don’t waste time with pleasantries. We cut to the chase, get to the point. We come with a built in sense of urgency. And for everything but say, our blood pressure, that might not be such a bad thing, at least it wasn't today.

So here I sit, in massive amounts of back pain from my post blizzard 2013 snow shoveling, mulling over what I learned. Here's what happened.

Thanks to some gusting winds, the driveway was covered with more than a foot of snow. And before you ask me why I did not get someone else to shovel, let me just say that the kid who used to do it for us – turns out joined the army. And as for these mysterious children looking to earn a few extra bucks, roaming the neighborhood with shovels at the ready…they do not exist, at least not where I live. So that left me…and my shovel.

I’ll be honest with you, when I opened the garage door and saw the snow piled flush against it, I could not fathom how I was going to physically be able to complete this task. But I started, and little by little, I made my way down the driveway, stopping to regroup every so often. Everyone was outside trying to dig themselves out. Then I heard sirens, saw a fire truck and ambulance. They stopped up the block. Not a good sign, I thought. I kept shoveling. When the young man who lived next door was done with his driveway, he said he’d come back and help me, but he needed to rest first. I wanted to cry (in a good way). I assured him that no matter how long he rested, I would still be out there shoveling when he returned.

I kept going. The plough came through and dumped the snow on our side of the street. Great. Then my neighbor came back out, as promised, and started shoveling from the street up, while I kept going from the top down. Then a lady from across the street came with a snow blower that was three times the size of her. I think her husband must’ve used it, but he was at work, and she saw me and knew that I would be crippled later on, so she was going to try and operate this monstrosity, only did I mention it was three times the size of her?

Well, then another neighbor from a few doors down, whom I don’t know at all, sees this and decides to come to her/my rescue. He’s a big burly guy and he stands there playing with all the levers for a while, before taking the blower and making his first trip up the unshoveled part of the driveway. Only it wasn’t shooting the snow far enough away, so the snow started blowing back onto my driveway where I had already shoveled. Crap. They were trying to help. What could I say?

Well, he’s a guy, and there’s no way he’s gonna not get this done successfully in front of two women. So he finally figures out how to operate the thing properly and starts up and down the driveway a couple more times. Then he decides to show the lady how to operate it, and she takes a stab at going up my driveway. By this time there are two more neighbors congregating at the foot of my driveway and chatting, watching the spectacle that is this snow blower in operation. They finish and then move on to another person’s house a few doors down. My next door neighbor helps me round out the corners so we can get cars out, and I am off to do the stairs and path to the front door.

So what did I learn from this day of fun in the snow? Well, I got to thinking that this was a great example of how the universe works. You start out not knowing how you’re gonna do something. In fact, it may seem impossible. But you start, anyway, not knowing when or how or by what means you will successfully accomplish your desired task. And while you’re putting everything you’ve got into it, you are met unexpectedly with the necessary people (and/or machinery) to help you reach your goal.

You have to be willing to allow for the unexpected. But the act of faith is in taking the initial action yourself, with no knowledge of how or guarantee of success. Can you put every ounce of your energy in the direction of your heart’s desire and live in the not knowing? Because, as I learned today, if we do, then we are met by a very willing, loving and supportive universe that will match our intentions and create ways where there had previously been none to get us where we want to go.

So God bless my neighbors…and the makers of Advil for helping me out today. Thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends. And now, can someone help me up?

1 comment:

  1. Great piece! I had a similar experience yesterday, bonding with neighbors as we dug out our cars. These are people I often think of as cranky and aloof, but we all helped one another out with snowblowers and shovels to get the job done. When people think of New Yorkers they think Martin Scorcese, but the secret is we are really more Frank Capra at heart.