So we just had a beautiful Minnesota blizzard this past weekend. For those of you who did not experience it firshand, the snow started on Friday night and kept falling all day Saturday. Here in Chaska we got somewhere around 16 inches according to the accounts I have heard. But what made it so bad was the wind. I went out Saturday afternoon to begin shoveling out my driveway and when I opened my overhead garage door, I found a wall of snow in it’s place. The drift was almost 3′ tall. It was the width of my 3-car garage. And it was about 5′ long before slowly tapering off to about a foot and a half. I just stood there staring at this winter wonderland wondering where in the world to start.
Finally I got into action and began clearing a path by scooping the snow and throwing it as far as I could. Then gradually after I cleared a path I started picking up a shovel full and carrying it over to the side of the driveway and dumping it there. After working for about an hour I had cleared away about an 8’X8′ section of driveway and the wind was already filling that part back in behind me.
Thankfully about that time my next door neighbor came by and offered me the use of his snowblower. I gratefully accepted and after another hour of manhandling that blower through my huge drifts I finally had a semi-cleared driveway. I still needed to go back the next day and clear out some more areas by hand, but the bulk of the work was done.
It was a lot of work, and by the time I got inside I literally had icicles formed on my eyebrows. In times like those you have to ask yourself, “now why again did I move to Minnesota?” But you know, a funny thing happened to me while shoveling my driveway. I found myself becoming more and more thankful. It began with just a short thought, but snowballed into more of a movement within me to give thanks to God for so many blessings that I was reminded of from this storm.
For instance, being out there for 2-3 hours in that cold wind and snow I was more thankful than ever for the shelter that God has provided for me and my family. Sometimes we wish our house was different. We complain about this or that and we talk about what we would like to do differently with our home, but it is in times like that snowstorm that I am simply reminded of how good it is to just have a home where we are safe and warm and dry.
I also found myself being thankful for the work that God allowed me to do just over the last couple of months to clear out our garage so that there was plenty of room to maneuver and get the cars inside and have stuff not be in the way. I found myself thanking God for the big driveway, even though a bigger driveway means more to shovel. I thanked Him for the neighbor who let me borrow his snowblower. I thanked Him for even just letting me be done and that I was warm again. I just kept finding myself thanking God for one thing after another.
So while I didn’t enjoy the shoveling, I think our little snowstorm helped me to be thankful. It is sad, but sometimes it take a moment like that to remind us of all the wonderful blessings we often take for granted. I don’t want to wish on you a snowstorm to help you be thankful, but I encourage you to be thankful.
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Thessalonica told them to, “give thanks in all circumstances.” (I Thessalonians 5:18a) I think tough times sometimes cause us to be frustrated, impatient, angry, bitter, or discouraged and we find it tough to be thankful. But God wants us to give thanks, no matter what the circumstances of life are. And sometimes it takes those tough times just to remind us to give thanks.