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Giving a Shove, Kindly

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, January 26, 2014

chairs shoveled parking place

Giving a Shove, Kindly

I visited some friends this afternoon in a densely populated area of our suburb. Not too far from the Elevated public train stop. I was looking forward to a decent cup of coffee! I parked the car nearby, and walked the rest of the way. As I was walking, I saw a car stuck by the curb. Here in the Chicago area, when it snows, sometimes people have difficulty getting out of their parallel parking places. Especially if the snow is of any depth at all. So, there was this guy with a smaller car. He even had put down kitty litter so his front wheels could get some traction, and was trying to rock his way out. No luck.

The guy looked downhearted. As I walked down the block, I saw him keep trying to get out of the parking place. Without success. I’m in decent shape for my age, and I was early for the meet-up. So, I decided to offer my assistance. He rolled down his window, thanked me for my offer and told me about the kitty litter effort. However, he warned me, “Another guy tried to help a couple of minutes ago, with no luck.” He sighed, looking up at me with a resigned twist to his mouth. I repeated my offer with a smile. He paused a moment, and then gladly accepted. I didn’t want to give him lots of advice, but I did say, “I noticed you trying to rock your car. I’ve gotten my car out in weather like this, and that’s the way to do it. For sure!” We exchanged smiles again, and I went to the rear of the small car.

I tried to time my shoves with his rocking. He almost got the car moving forward, but not quite. I spent about two minutes helping. No luck, again. Another man materialized at my side at the rear of the car. He had assessed what the problem was, and gave the driver a brief explanation and how-to. I stood by, nodding my encouragement. The driver looked more hopeful, now that there were two of us to give a friendly shove. Sure enough, in about thirty seconds, the driver had freed himself from the pile of snow by the curb. He waved to both of us behind the car, and we all went our separate ways.

What a way to be kind and useful. This kind act of service made me think of similar acts—similar activities. In fact, an analogy for everyday life. Just as this driver was stuck in a pile of snow (and not such a huge pile, either), I can get stuck in everyday activities, too. I can get snowed under by a pile of errands, meetings, paperwork, telephone calls that need to be made, emails that need to be read and answered. Sometimes it’s helpful for others to come alongside of me and give me a hand (or a shove!). Then, I can get free of the stuff clogging me up from moving, and freed for more kind, God-honoring acts of service.

Wow. I didn’t expect that. God, such a down-to-earth object lesson for me. Thanks!

@chaplaineliza

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