Help thy Neighbor
It was the day after the Big Storm, and I was out shoveling. Because I live on a city street, it somehow didn’t seem like I’d done enough just digging out my own car.
So, with the help of some of my kids and neighbors, we dug their cars out as well.
The nice thing about shoveling snow is that you really don’t have to think too much. Its a simple process: 1) Sift through your pile of outdoor odds and ends; 2) Find your (preferably snow) shovel, and 3) Decide between doing it yourself or assigning the job to the kids. After that, the hard thinking is pretty much over.
But amidst the outdoor workout, I spotted a minor dilemma. A few doors down, a mother/son combo, armed with the requisite equipment, approached their buried car.
I say approached; that is, they moved forward with all the confidence of a freshman about to challenge the wisdom of a tenured professor. Instead of digging and shoveling, the operation looked more like a seven year old who had gained permission to pet a big dog, but remained too tentative to step up and get it done. The snow wasn’t being shoveled as much as poked and prodded.
It was the mom who was working, at least a little. But every time I looked, the teenaged son seemed more interested in discussing than digging, shooting rather than shoveling. His shovel was strong enough to support his weight when leaned upon; it was unknown how it would respond when engaged in actual snow removal.
But it was just the two of them; where dad was, who knew? Meanwhile, we were finishing up; should I/we help them out?
Well…how? The answer was easy: The only way to help was to do nothing. This young man was getting very little work done, while his body language shouted that he didn’t care to be working at all.
In this case, “helping” would have amounted to “hindering”. If the youngster didn’t want to dig out the family car, who was I to do it for him? If I were to assist this young man in evading his responsibility, could that possibly be called “help”?
Not at all. Work is a blessing and a privilege. We don’t always enjoy it, but it is a gift from above nonetheless. Why else would Jesus Christ, creator of the universe, spend so much of his time on earth working with his earthly father in a carpenter’s shop? His example has forever put a giant stamp of approval on labor, especially, perhaps, the labor accomplished with one’s hands.
Well, it’s the afternoon now, and the car appears to be mostly free of ice and snow. As for my tentative young neighbor, he never really did look like he picked up any good work habits.
So, despite the severity of the recent snow dump, it wasn’t enough to convince him that he needed to learn how to work.
Too bad; I really wish I could have helped.
Submitted by Joel Saint