Sunday, December 21, 2008

Shoveling in Chicago

Another snow. More snowblowing and shoveling.

In a funny way, I don't mind it. You see, when I shovel and then survey my work I get a sense of pleasure and accomplishment. It's one of the few things I do that acutally seems to get finished (at least until the next snow). I can see the result of my labor.

I live in a world where there's lots of unfinished projects. My to do list gets longer, never shorter. There's always something more to do.

-When someone comes in for pastoral counseing rarely do I have an A+B=C formula all ready for them. I can give some suggestions but they always leave knowing that they're going to have to work some things out ...that we'll need to touch base again. I offer no magic bullet or pill.

-When I'm challenged by or challenge a colleague on something things don't magically fall into place. If feelings get hurt time has to be spent to patch things up.

-A couple comes in for marriage help. What ails them is not easily fixed. Pushing snow around is a piece of cake. Putting a marriage back together is a lot tougher job.

And so, snow shoveling gives me instant gratification. I need that sometimes. So do you...even though we know, in our heart, that it's not done. Nothing ever is. The driveway I clean today might be snowfilled tomorrow. It's Chicago.

Instant gratification is nice. Rare, but nice. The truth is that I didn't sign up for instant gratification. I signed on to a journey.

I'm a Christian. It snows a fair amount on my faith journey. There's always some shoveling that needs to be done. Even though I'm on a narrow path ...there's snow. I either have to shovel it out, walk through it, or play amidst it. Each day is different. I love the play days.

Some people make the Christian journey pretty formulaic. Say ABC, do DEF, and voila's all good. Doesn't work like that.

Here's the truth. The joy of the Christian faith isn't in a formula. The joy is in the journey. And why shouldn't it be? I have good traveling partners. I've learned some kingdom perspectives. I cling to the hope and promise of all the Jesus stuff I really, really believe in. The people I encounter, the problems I deal with is the stuff of real life. The storms I encounter can dump some big snow. It's OK. Because the people and situations I'm involved with matter to God.So let it snow ...let it snow.

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