It wouldn’t be winter in Michigan without waking up to a dumping of snow! The brilliant while coated everything! Knowing I had plans with a friend in a few hours, I dutifully went out to shovel the driveway. From inside, it looked like we’d only gotten a few inches, so surely I could tackle this task in an hour, easy. When I got outside and realized the snow was actually up to my knees. No worries, I got this!
I started rhythmically shoveling: scoop, dump, scoop, dump, scoop, dump. Whew! As my arms started to tire, I stopped to look at my progress; I’d been working hard, yet I’d hardly made a dent in clearing the snow! Okay, back at it: scoop, dump, scoop, dump.
Aw man, the snowplow just filled the end of the drive with slush and ice. I’ll get to that in a minute; stay focused on the area I’ve started. Scoop, dump, scoop, dump.
Hold up, where did my toddler just run off to? Oh he’s playing in the front yard? I guess I’ll start on the section down there. Scoop, dump.
Alright, we’ve been out here a good hour; we have to be almost done, right? Nope, definitely only halfway done. Maybe only a third. Scoop, dump.
And the sky is dumping a fresh layer of snow where I’ve already shoveled. No matter; keep at it. Scoop, dump.
Ope! The mail lady is coming; quick make a path for her! Scoop, dump, scoop, dump.
Okay, kiddo’s getting cold; time to take a break and get him situated inside with his dad. Okay, break’s over, back at it. Scoop, dump.
Hmm, there’s only this little portion left and the icy mess from the snowplow to finish; I’ll make a game out of it and see if I can finish the rest in 20 shovelfuls, easy peasy! Except now I’ve been at this for two hours, and my shoulders and back and arms are starting to ache. I can’t take quite as big of a load, and I lose half of it trying to propel it over the fence. 11, 12, 13 scoops. Okay, maybe I can’t clear the rest in 20 loads, but I definitely can clear this last few feet here. Scoop, dump. 18, 19, 20. Yeah, with the wind and drifts, this section is definitely deeper than I thought! Okay, how many more scoops? 28, 29, 30! 38, 39, 40!
Whew! It’s mostly clear! I just have to do that little bit from the snowplow and I’m done. That’s an easy 5, 10 scoops top! I got this! Scoop, crunch! Except this isn’t the fluffy snow of the rest, this is ice! This plastic shovel can’t crack it; time to switch to the metal one. Except this one’s way heavier, and so is the ice! And I’ve grown tired, so I can only move small loads. Chisel, chisel, scoop, dump. Chisel, chisel, scoop, dump. 5, 6, 7 scoops. 8, 9, 10 more. And it’s only half cleared. Seriously? Am I ever going to finish this? Maybe I can leave this last little bit and plow through. No no, it’s not worth getting stuck, finish the job. Chisel, chisel, dump. 18, 19, 20 scoops! Finally, I’m done!
Sometimes I feel like reaching my goals is like shoveling snow: the achiever in me looks at the task at hand and thinks, “I got this! It’ll be a quick accomplishment!” And then I start working on the goal, and realizing it’s way deeper than I anticipated. Or someone comes and, trying to help, actually makes the situation worse and sets me back 10 steps. Or I have to pause my progress to tend to the needs of my family or a friend. Or something completely out of my control hits, erasing my progress. Or I have to take a break to allow myself to rest, even when it feels like doing so is a setback. Suddenly, what I thought would be a quick and easy goal turns into something that seems impossible to complete! Sometimes I’ve worked so hard and feel like I have so little to show for it.
Maybe you’re feeling that way too. Maybe you’re on the verge of giving up on something that’s becoming so disheartening. I encourage you to stop for a moment, look up and survey the progress that you’ve made. Yes, you’re not where you started, but you are progressing. There’s a clear spot that wasn’t there before. Maybe there’s a clear path where there was once dysfunctional coping skills or hurtful relationships. Stop and observe the new paths you’ve created; reflected on the muscles (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) that have strengthened in the journey. You may not be where you hoped you’d be, your hope may not yet be achieved, but dear one, you’re getting there! Take care of yourself, rest and tend to your needs, reflect on how far you’ve come, and when you’re ready, get back out there. Scoop, dump.
Sharon is a jack of all trades a Beacon. In addition to doing play therapy and seeing clients, she also supervises interns and heads up our communications. In her free time, you’ll find Sharon running all of the miles, baking treats, and tracking down corny jokes.