Blizzard of the Heart
Did you survive the storm? Were you one of the people stranded out in the blizzard? Well, in the Leiva home, we were without heat for about 13 hours, yet had limited output of electricity. I was awoken by an electrical shutter or flicker, which disabled our furnace on Tuesday morning around 2am. It was already 56 degrees Fahrenheit in our home (that is the temperature that we set it at night, low isn’t it?). And around 3:30am, I went downstairs and tinkered around with the furnace to see if I could possibly jar it back on. I wasn’t in luck, what do I know about furnaces?
So, how did we survive? We spent the whole day boiling water on the stove top just to maintain 50 degrees Fahrenheit in our house. Yes, it was so cold we could literally see our breath. Occasionally we had to run laps from the front of our apartment to the back to stay warm. Obed really didn’t notice the cold but loved the idea of running from his toy box to the back door.
Although this was an incredible time of survival with my family this is actually not what will be etched in my memory bank concerning Chicago Blizzard ‘11. No, it will be the reality of my failure. Now clearly to really appreciate the amount of snow that was dropped during a 22-hour storm, one must go outside and shovel the snow. (If you are reading this and still bunkered in, get out and enjoy it!)
Thursday, February 3, was the day that I was going to get our car out of our parking space in the alley. This was no small task, for there was 20.5 inches of snow down our 100 feet alley leading to the street. I thought to myself, ‘Self, wow, are you really going to be able to manage this? Well, sure, I have an all wheel drive Sport Utility Vehicle, of course I’ll get out of this.’ I began with vigor and excitement as the sun shown brightly. I soon was working up a sweat...and two hours later was almost to the end of the alley. That’s when my self-control went out the window. An older gentlemen was standing in his garage warming up his car (which was not even going to make it down the alley anyways) and he began to accuse me of piling up the three feet of snow that stood triumphantly in front of his garage door. Yes, I admit some of the snow was from the path that I was blazing, but certainly not all of it.
An understatement would be that this vexed me greatly. I had been tossing heavy snow for two hours, and my back was going to let me know in the days following, and here stood a unappreciative ungrateful man. At this moment I blew up and answered this man’s foolish anger with anger. Proverbs 26:4-5 says, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” I shamelessly yelled back and was unrelenting in my defense of my prideful work.
In the end I drove off in my car and did not apologize to this gentleman. Later, as I cooled down, I succumbed to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and acknowledged my sin. I had failed to be humble and show the love of Christ to this old man. I was more concerned with receiving appreciation and gratitude for my hard labor and when I was confronted with provocation I reacted poorly.
The greater lesson I have been meditating upon is the wickedness that still dwells within my heart. I have a deep need to abide in the Spirit so that in everything I might bear the fruit of the Spirit to my neighbors, co-workers, and family. Galatians 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
How will you remember the blizzard of 2011? Or how will people remember you?