This past winter, while shoveling a hefty snowfall, I realized some fascinating similarities between snow shoveling and securing boundaries.
We have lived in our home for 9 years, but because of the newly-fallen snow, I had to carefully recheck where the boundaries were between the sidewalk and the grass. The snow was beautiful and appealing; but it covered the boundaries that I thought I knew very well.
- LESSON: Check boundaries periodically so the attractiveness of something new won’t cause you to become careless with what keeps you secure.
I noticed that the private path to our front door was much more narrow than the public sidewalk where everyone walks.
- LESSON: Keep the protective path leading to your private life narrow.
Our next-door neighbor is a 90+ widow. It would have taken no effort for me to shovel her walk, because it would have been the right thing to do, and because I was able to do it. For a few moments, I struggled with a little guilt. However, I recalled that she hires a neighbor boy to shovel her property because she enjoys being able to pay him and he needs the money. By shoveling her walk out of guilt, I would have taken from them something they both needed.
- LESSON: If guilt is the motivator, then the action carries less value.
In the winter, we focus on the sidewalk and the driveway, and we ignore the lawn. In the spring, summer and fall, we focus on the lawn and give less attention to the sidewalk and driveway. Imagine how fruitless it would be to shovel the lawn!
- LESSON: As seasons of life change, boundaries may change.