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Shoveling Snow

We are just about done with the worst snowstorm in NYC in years. By the time it’s all over, we’ll see nearly two feet of the white fluffy stuff. It’s incredibly beautiful …and it’s driving me crazy. 

If this was over a year ago, I’d already been on my second run through with the shovel. The small square plot of grass in the front of my house would be filled with a literal mountain of extra snow from my driveway and sidewalk. 

I’m not very good at a lot of things, but if there is one thing I do excel at, it’s shoveling snow, but I can’t do it anymore.

Just over a year ago I had a heart attack, and apparently, if there’s one thing a recovering heart attack victim can never do ever again, it’s shovel snow. According to my doctor, and a host of other experts, it is a guaranteed second heart attack. They’re not even sure why that particular act is worse for me than anything else, it just is. 

So, I’m off “team snow.”

I have no choice but to rely on others now. Someone else besides me must do this job.

Is that metaphor too subtle for you?

It’s just another gospel reminder for me. That’s all I see these days.

but I don’t feel like being particularly “gospel-y” today. I don’t feel like telling you about Christ my substitute. I’d rather lament my being benched from “team snow.” I’d rather tell you how much it sucks to not be able to rely on my own abilities.

Since my NYC church plant, Epiphany, closed it’s doors, and the final work of my job as treasurer there has been completed, I have felt anything but useful. Yes, I know about the doctrine of vocation. I understand everything in a sense matters to God, but I feel like right now, I do a lot less that matters to God. 

But there was always snow.

As much as I may have grumbled under my breath, I could always find my worth there. It’s a worth found in hard labor, in people seeing my shoveling exploits. It’s my “evangelical baptism”, my outward expression of an inward change. Because in my shoveling, I always do more for my neighbors on either side of me. I make them see me.

Not this time though. Now, I have nothing to do but watch. Watch as my two sons and wife go out and do the heavy lifting that was meant for me, for my time to shine. 

I really don’t know what to do with myself now. 

As much as I believe and trust this grace thing, clearly I need work for my worth to be manifested to God. 

I am a law addict, a works junkie, and I need a hit soon, or I’ll die. 

Instead, I continue to ask God to help me find relief in grace, hoping this new formula takes the edge off my “law jones”. It actually does feel good, but it also makes me a little jittery. this is probably because I can never get “the works” completely out of my system, so when they meet each other, it’s a real battle, like the sinner and saint that wrestle. Seeing yourself worthy without merit, is a hard pill to swallow. 

and I don’t have any other words… 

I just don’t know what to do with myself. That’s it.

This may sound silly to you, but it’s not.

Maybe you pray for me as I try to deal with this new life dynamic?

Maybe pray that I can see this as a gift, to have this deep reliance on my own ability be so fully exposed, that I can finally rest in grace all the more. 

Or not. 

They’re just words.

and I’m done.

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