“A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.”
Regardless of when it happens, the first snow of the season always catches me by surprise. This is most evident by how long it takes me to shovel my front walk. This is only worsened in this zoom-world, as any of the typical snow day joys are a distant memory. The rest of the world expects work to continue uninterrupted as the children interrupt frequently for assistance in the 40-minute bundling-up process that results in about 10-15 minutes of actual playtime outside. Friday, as the snow fell, the children clamored, the zooms continued, and my patience dropped quicker than the temperature. I unfortunately snapped at more than a few of my colleagues before the week finally was over. The next morning, I ran out the door to get to the grocery store for some much needed supplies. My run turned into a slide on my unshoveled drive. Had it not been for a car sideview mirror, I would’ve been sending this from the emergency room. "I’ll take care of that when I get back," I thought to myself. I didn’t – too many bags to carry, too much to unpack. Later in the afternoon, as we ran out for another errand, my eldest, Annie, did the same slide. "Dad, you gonna do something about that?" she asked. After reminding her that 14-year-olds could also do something about that, I promised myself I would do it later when it wasn’t so cold. I finally began chipping away as frigid sleet was coming down early Sunday morning and I was dumbfounded why it felt so impossible clearing this insignificant snowfall off my walkway. "The more you let it sit," called my observant next door neighbor from his garage, "the harder it gets."
As I stared down at my icy mess, I couldn’t help but think of my icy exchanges with some of my colleagues on Friday. What might be hardening in their minds and hearts because I didn’t clear the path? How often in life and leadership do I let things sit, let things freeze and harden unnecessarily because it’s not "the right time" or "there’s too much going on" or the conditions aren’t right? While I might not mind figure skating my way through the hazards I create, who else might I be putting in harms way by not creating a safer space? I decided to send a few apology texts to salt the path for this week. As we go through the occasional cold and inclement days, how can we clear a path for others to connect better with us, with each other, and with the Lord? Prayers as you break the ice on your path this week.