The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Angels With Shovels

Aha moments can come at the most unexpected times.  Last week, in the midst of a winter wonderland that had the Philadelphia area innundated with many feet of snow, I found myself both frustrated and delighted in the span of 5 minutes. Unlike many people, I didn’t have the luxury of a ‘snow day’ since I work in a hospital, and needed to dig my car out from the fluffy white stuff that had it appearing as an overgrown marshmallow. 

Two hours prior to the time when I knew I needed to leave for work, I bundled up, geared up with shovel and ice scraper and headed out to uncover my chariot.  Taking my time, reminding myself to take the process one shovel full at a time, telling myself “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” as I often do when faced with a potentially lengthy endeavor, I began to see more of the driveway.  I laughed that there would be no need to go the gym that day, since I was getting both cardio and weight training while shoveling.


My enthusiasm began to flag as exhaustion set in.  Thinking that I had cleared enough to move my car out of the driveway, I slid behind the wheel and to my dismay, heard the wheels spin and felt as if I was sunk in more deeply. Back out into the snow I went, dislodging more from the undercarriage and wheels and then back into the car…same routine several times.  Finally, I had my own melt-down….tears flowing, words screamed out “Come on God, I can’t do this alone!  I’m the go-to person for so many people in my life.  I need to some go-to people to help me out here! Please send me some angels.”  Regaining my composure, I went back out to renew my efforts.

Within a short time, my across the street neighbor Debby came out to shovel her driveway.  We have known each other since my family moved back up from sunny South Florida (which was looking pretty good right about then) following the loss of our home in Hurricane Andrew in 1992. In addition to being neighbors, both working in the human services profession, with similar social and political sensibilities and musical tastes, her parents are friends with my cousin Ron (whose grandson Gabe just became a Bar Mitzvah, about whom I wrote last week) She and I struck up a conversation in between snow scoops. When she noticed that I was struggling, huffing and puffing, she came over and helped out.  A short while afterward, another neighbor, Joe who I had never met, followed and said “I can get your car out with no problem.”  Doubting, yet willing to let him have at it, I handed him the keys.  Within moments, he had freed it from its snow prison.  It seemed effortless.  He offered these words of wisdom…”All you need to do is rock it back and forth until you have momentum and then its out.”  Immediately insight issued forth.  In most areas of my life when faced with challenge, I attempt to barrel through, efforting and pushing, rather than going with the flow since it reminded me of times in my life when I was too laisez faire. Sometimes surrender is called on to move past obstacles.  Even though my car was now in the street and the driveway was sufficiently clear, Joe continued to shovel until I could see the blacktop. I thanked him profusely and his response was that he was simply paying it forward since someone had helped him dig out.


A short while later, showered, spirit renewed, I got back in the car and headed out, smiling for several reasons. One was how rapidly my prayers were answered and two ‘human angels’ had responded to my call. The other was that when I am able to ‘rock it’, I can ‘rocket forward’ rather than remaining entrenched literally and physically.

Lift off!


Dedicated to all of the angels in human form that we may not otherwise recognize.

We Are All Angels by Karen Drucker

  • mukti

    how did you thank joe? Remember….rock back and forth …
    my dad’s biz road construct. One winter…ford plant in edison parking lot snow removal….980 catepillar front end rubber tire loader and me doing 360s and flying into the snow bank 2 am -5am…i empathize w/ you Edie. Bliss embrace infinite, mukti

  • Daria

    Great story!

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