Thursday, March 08, 2007

A "Motivational" Talk

We had more snow come through Ohio yesterday. Yes, I know. It's March! (A couple of years ago, we had at least a little snow every month from January through May.) But I digress.

The white stuff came down quite heavily, and left us with around 4" to clear from the driveway. Thankfully, our two kids were able to help with the job. My back isn't what it used to be. (Remember, I'm 40 now?!)

As the boys worked at one end, I worked toward them from the other. Our driveway is quite long, and will fit at least 5 vehicles, bumper-to-bumper, on one side. However, we live in a duplex, so it's wide enough for 5 on the neighbors' side of the driveway, too. That's a lot of driveway, and a lot of snow.

Now, we are only required to clear our part of the sidewalks and our side of the driveway. Since their side of the driveway is next to us, though, we have to at least clear a path to our side of the driveway. The long and short of it (no pun intended) is that we simply clear the whole thing. It's just easier.

After we finished, I sent the boys inside (school work was calling). I went across the street to clear our elderly neighbor's driveway. She always insists that it isn't necessary, but I still do it. After all, what if she needed to get out? What if there was an emergency? I do NOT want her to slip and fall when she goes down to check her mail, either.

As I was clearing the driveway, I thought, "This is a labor of love for me. Stanna is a sweet woman. Even though we don't speak the same language (she is from the former Yugoslavia, and speaks very few words of English), we have this unspoken bond, shared in smiles and hugs. I do this because I want to show her my love in ways I cannot with my words."

Oh, but the Spirit wouldn't leave that one alone. "And so, Joni, why do you clear your own driveway?"

"Well, of course, because I love my family, and it needs to be done."

"And what about the neighbors' side of the driveway. Hmm?"

"Well, now, that's because we're supposed to love our neighbors, I guess."

"But is that why you do it? Do you truly love them? Or is the snow clearing simply a job done out of duty--what you feel you should or must do?"

A labor of love? Or a labor of duty? Tough question. My neighbors aren't so easy to love. Their lifestyle is far different from ours. They have awakened us at all kinds of crazy hours. We have witnessed many loud "discussions" and parties from their side of the duplex. The months since they moved in have not been easy.

It goes back to the verses I shared in a previous post. This is something I know God really wants me to deal I really and truly love my neighbors?

For now, I must admit, clearing their sidewalk and side of the driveway is, for me, a labor of duty. I am praying that the labor of duty will become, for me, a labor of love.

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