Shoveling the Iceberg

We have had a lot of snow lately, and haven’t exactly kept up on shoveling our driveway. The car can still get over it, so it’s fine, right? A couple of days ago, though, the pile of snow/ice at the end of our driveway got high enough that it was scraping the bottom of the car. It needed to go. A couple of days later it warmed up to above freezing and snow was melting quickly. I decided it was time to tackle the iceberg at the end of our driveway.

It was really thick where the driveway met the road, so I got out a hole digging shovel instead of just the snow shovel. (I know it probably has a name, but you know what I mean, right?)  I was working hard at the ice at the end of the driveway, when a man (we’ll say a grandpa) walks by on the other side of the street. I stand up and say ‘hi’. He smiles and kind of shakes his head, “You’re doing a man’s job.” He had an accent so it took me a minute to figure out what he said and he had already passed. I wondered what he meant by that. Was he saying, “Shame on you for doing a man’s job.” or “Shame on your husband for not doing his job.”? I like to think he’s a lot like me and just couldn’t think of something to say, so he spurted out something awkward, because he really wanted to say, “Wow! You’re so strong to be able to do that! I wish I was that strong!” haha

It did bring up some questions in my mind, though. I’ll admit, I have grappled with some of those feelings of “Why am I doing this? This is a man’s job.” I think we tend to get some of those gender roles from how we watched our parents. My dad can fix pretty much anything, and likes to fix things himself. When I got married, I was surprised to learn that not all men are like that.

While I was shoveling, though, I thought, “Maybe he meant that someone stronger should be doing this. Why not me? Obviously I’m strong enough. I want it gone. And most importantly, I’m available and willing.” My husband was at work, and I definitely would have asked him for help if he had been home, because not surprisingly, he’s a lot stronger than me. He can shovel about 3 times faster than I can. It would have been easier for me if he had done it or helped, but he wasn’t able to at that time, so I did it. I got it cleared away.

This makes me think about when we’re struggling in relationships. So often we want the other person to change. “If they’d just stop being so annoying, then I wouldn’t have to feel so annoyed.” or “If they would stop being so grumpy and depressed, then I wouldn’t have to feel so grumpy and depressed.” Why wait for them to change, though? For one thing, they probably won’t. For another thing, I’m the one who doesn’t want to feel annoyed, or grumpy, or depressed. Most importantly, I’m able to redirect my thoughts so that I can feel the way I want to. Maybe it would be easier if people just changed to be the way we think they should be. Just like it would have been easier for me if someone else had cleared the ice from the end of our driveway. But we can’t control what other people do, so “Why not me?” Why don’t I figure out how to change my thoughts so that I can feel the way I want to? It’s not easy. And sometimes it feels like chipping away at an iceberg. But it’s totally worth it.

Comment and let me know when you were able to change your thoughts and feel good, rather than wait for someone else to change their behaviour.