After writing last week, I felt a desire to do something MORE than just little acts of service as I go about my day—I want to make a bigger impact. So, this week, I re-committed to making a bigger effort to serve.
I wish I could give the source for the following story. It’s one I heard many times throughout my growing up years:
This is a story about four people named: Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.
This last week I saw this story play out in a situation which chastened my heart and made me wish to be better than I am moving forward.
Last weekend our area was hit with a blizzard—it was wonderful to sit cozied up inside and listen to the wind howl and watch the much-desired snow come down for hours on end. The wind was so fierce that when we tried to get a head start on shoveling our driveway Saturday, the wind would whip the snow off the shovels and blow it right into our faces. We gave up after doing only a few feet of driveway and by the time the storm blew itself out the next morning, you couldn’t even tell where we had attempted to shovel. Our area received about 3 feet of snow, but the wind had driven the snow so much that in some areas there was barely a covering, while other areas, like our driveway, had over five foot high drifts.
Saturday night, all of our Sunday meetings were cancelled. So Sunday morning, after fortifying ourselves with hot chocolate, all six of us bundled up, grabbed shovels and started to get to work on shoveling out. It was fun! The snow had the consistency of soft cake—we could just cut right into it with our shovels.
After a couple of hours, the youngest members of the family were no longer having fun. The very youngest abandoned her shovel in favor of pretending to swim in the snow. My tween, after having been reminded to work as a family team, decided her shovel should be used with all her might … and she angrily swung her shovelful of snow straight into her older sister’s eye. Of course, an immediate halt was called to the proceedings while we sent the victim inside to take a warm bath and ice her now swelling eye. Finally, the rest of us got back to work and after about four hours, we were done.
I now agree with my husband that we need a snow-blower—a LARGE snow-blower. My poor husband strained his back and needed to ice his back and lay down. Meanwhile, my 17-year-old son and I loaded a couple of shovels into his car and we drove out to see if we could help some of the members of our congregation.
After checking out one family’s home and seeing their cleared driveway with a large snow-blower sitting off to one side, I felt strongly that we should go to a widow’s home. Miss Trudy is a firecracker—smart-mouthed, feisty, and incredibly spiritual. I LOVE her! So when I felt that we should go help her shovel out, I responded happily and we drove over.
Her driveway is HUGE … like 3 large pick-up trucks parked side-by-side wide, about 200 feet long, and snow drifted to the beds of the trucks deep in snow. My son groaned outwardly, as I groaned inwardly. I said, “Well, the only way to get done is to get started.” He didn’t look impressed with my wisdom as we climbed out and grabbed our shovels.
As we started to work on the mammoth pile the snowplow had pushed in front of her driveway, Miss Trudy stood on her porch and yelled, “Who is that?” I laughingly half-walked, half-crawled through the five foot deep snow towards her. She asked who sent us and I told her we sent ourselves, and she laughed, “Oh, I know the church is sending out people to help me and I’ve hired a front loader to come do the driveway, so if you can just do the sidewalks, I’ll be okay.”
Relieved to hear that we wouldn’t have to do her driveway, I repeated the clumsy walk-crawl over the snow back to my son and shared the good news. We both got to work on her sidewalks and were soon done. We both traversed back up the steep hill to her front door and went inside for a drink.
As we were finishing up, one of the older men from our congregation arrived—he and his wife were here to coordinate the shoveling work. We chatted for a bit, then the front loader arrived—big tractor with a little shovel on the back end and a big shovel on the front end. It began to work on the driveway—it was a thing of beauty—clearing the first 10 feet beautifully. Then it hit the steep, icy driveway … and began to tip over! It tipped right onto her mailbox before the driver was able to regain control. He apologized for breaking her mailbox and expressed his regret that he would not be able to do her driveway.
My son looked at me with that, “No. Mom, I have shoveled over five hours today. Do NOT ask me to do her driveway! Please?” The snow removal coordinator looked at me with a hopeful look, and I grabbed a shovel. The coordinator immediately began texting and calling to see if anyone could please come and help. Listening as we shoveled, slid on the ice, and shoveled some more, we heard lots of, “Well, I could, but we just finished our drive and are exhausted. Try such-and-so. If you can’t find anyone else, let me know and I’ll be there.”
Two or three hours later, muscles shaking in exhaustion, and drenched in sweat, we headed home. We were exhausted, having done the driveway with the coordinator’s limited help, due to his health, and his wife’s help, as no one else arrived.
Miss Trudy is a beloved member of our congregation—everybody would have been there in a heartbeat to help her … except that, in this case, nobody was there.
And I am a Nobody. I too, but for this weekly focus on trying to live as the Good Samaritan, would have pleaded exhaustion and would have recommended someone else that was better suited to step-up and help.
How often do prayers get answered by Nobody because Everybody assumes that Anybody is better qualified, has more time, and is the better person to do it? How often have I used that excuse myself?
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.