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The Catechesis of the Snow Shovel

02/18/2014 Comments (31)

So.  Maybe now you all know what I'm talking about when I say "snow."  Now you all have wakened from your charmed sleep of winter weather innocence.  You've seen your world transformed, your priorities have suddenly shifted, and you've faced the fact that if you want to leave your house, you're going to have to do something -- yes, you personally -- about all that ridiculous white stuff that's come between you and the life you used to know.  Certain truths about yourself, and about life in general, become unavoidable.

This is why I think that all candidates for confirmation should spend at least one winter month in the Northeast, or at a similar latitude.  No kidding! Spend just a few hours shoveling some serious snow (and I mean 10 inches or more, and it had to be wet, preferably with a horrible crust on top), and you will learn almost everything you need to learn about being an adult.  Things like:

Think ahead, or you'll end up doing your work twice.  You can work your arms into a jelly to clear the space around a van, but then comes the moment when you look up and realize that that there is an additional 75 cubic yards of snow on top of the van, and it's gotta go somewhere.  Where?  Oh, on the space you just cleared, which will then have to be cleared again. So when you have some task ahead of you, think about your end result before you take the first step.

On the other hand, at some point you have to stop thinking and start working.  There is something to be said for organizing your work and trying to plan it in the most sensible and elegant way possible, but you have make sure you really are being sensible, and not just stalling. 

There will always be jerkwads who see you struggling and laboring away, and they laugh at you. Why? Because they're jerkwads.  This has nothing to do with you and nothing to do with the value of the work you're doing.  When Mr. Spoiler-the-Size-of-a-Park-Bench chucks a Red Bull can at you because you're wearing a dorky hat, you can get mad if you want, but it's really his problem, not yours. Done being mad? Good.  Now get back to work.

Got yourself a huge load of snow, tough guy? That's impressive. Now try carrying it.  Sometimes it's all about endurance of little things over the long haul, not being a one-time hero.  Think of all the saints who lived to a ripe old age. They lifted their just-heavy-enough loads over and over and over again, and they kept on going until they worked all the way to the end of the path.

Get started early.  You may think there's plenty of time left to get your act together and do what needs to be done, but sundown is closer than you think.  If you think working all day is bad, try working in the dark.  Or try running out of time altogether, and then suffering the consequences.  There are worse things than working, and you don't have as much time as you think.

Do stop and look around every once in a while. It is beeeee-youtiful out there.  Clear air, sparkling snow, everything heightened and crisp and exhilarating.  It is beautiful beyond all reason, and you're lucky to be alive.  Thank God for His bounty, his profligate generosity -- all those little hexagons! -- the swaths of diamonds, the byzantine hieroglyphs of frost, the whole town clothed in ermine and fringed with silver icicles.  Yes, it is beautiful.  Now get back to work.

Yes, you are tired. Really, genuinely, thoroughly tired.  No, you're not done yet.  So get back to work.

So, anyone getting confirmed this year?  Come on over! We're expecting another six inches of catechesis before evening, and we don't mind sharing.

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About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
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Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs at I Have to Sit Down. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and nine children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.