I saw an interview with Harrison Ford once where he described “the best job.” As a boy, Ford used to watch the coal delivery man at work on the street outside Ford’s bedroom window. Coal delivery, for those who have no idea, is where a pile of coal is dumped at the end of the block and a man or woman delivers it by wheelbarrow to each house that uses coal as their heating fuel. The number of wheelbarrows full that are dumped down the coal shute into a house’s basement depends on the order. Ford watched as the truck dumped off a huge pile of coal, and then he saw the man bring barrow after barrow to the houses. When the coal was gone, the job was done. And that’s what caught young Harrison’s imagination. You could tell when the job was over. He thought that must be so satisfying.
I was thinking of this while I shoveled snow on Monday afternoon. I started just before the snow was done falling, Big, moist flakes dropping onto all the rest to become snowball perfect snow. This is the kind of snow that calls one to come outside and make snowmen, forts, sculptures and angels. It begs to be caught up in one hand to be an instantly usable projectile. It doesn’t, on the other hand, make it easy to shovel. Instead of the light powder that can be “plowed” over to one side of the driveway, every shovel full must be carried to one side or the other. It must be delivered.
This is the true snow of pictures. It does more than coat. It fills. It grabs hold of your heels and pulls back and makes you use words like “trudge.” It creates the noises in the otherwise silent forest. Limbs, worried under the layers, creak and some crack with the weight. Loud, shouting snaps echo through the tree trunks as some oak or a sturdy birch can’t find an Aaron to help support its burden.
Three different times I was told, as I shoveled, that I needed to get a snow blower. I was told how proficient, how quick and how strong it would be. But, even facing a week of 3 promised storms, with just a day or so in between each, it doesn’t appeal to me. The purpose of the blower is to get me back inside quicker. It wouldn’t give me peace to think, the exercise that makes me feel accomplished, and I wouldn’t be speaking to neighbors above the noise. I couldn’t learn that John from next door can’t wait to retire and move back to New Hampshire and New England seafood –like none other in the world. I wouldn’t realize that after 10 minutes I don’t need the jacket and after 10 more I don’t need the scarf. My body has been made to participate in the weather.
I am schooled into the reality that I am a son of Adam, who was given the job of living “in the garden to work and take care of it.” It’s a job that doesn’t end. It just gets deeper, richer. It’s part of what Jesus died for, to clear the way so I could discover and experience it alongside of the Spirit who whispers into my heart. I don’t need to get back inside that quickly. I don’t need to worry about finishing. I get to live into the work of the day and to discover a different satisfaction.