Bite Your Tongue

Imagine driving home, singing along to the latest worship music with joy in your heart as you sing onto the Lord, and the heater blasting winter’s cold from your bones. For a little while, you forget where you’re going, until your road appears before you. At a moments notice, you remember the need to get a speeding start to barrel up and through the snow and iced street. So though, you’re not going fast enough, you try anyway.

In many fluid motions, your mind and body working like a well oiled machine, you press the gas pedal, flip through the gears when Drive doesn’t seem enough umph, and carve enough space for your spinning tires to move a few inches in the heavy snow. You turn the steering wheel left and right, swerving at sloth speed, while you jerk your torso back and forth, thinking that will help your car get anywhere closer to the top of the curvy hill. But, you go nowhere. You are stuck half way up the hill, not a person in sight to help push you.

The joy in you has left, the worship songs that lept from your tongue, just moments ago are silent. You pray half heartedly, but know that taste of disgusted means you won’t be pulling your car in garage tonight. Defeated, you put the car in reverse, slowly guide yourself backward down the slushy, slippery slope, until you reach the bottom and drive to a neighbor’s driveway, abandoning your car with a pay it forward note of thanks.

Still emotionally furious, you begin to channel the anger at the city for not plowing your alternative street, because the other is closed for the season. You stomp your way home in deep snow, open the garage door, toss your purse to the side, bundle up, grab the snow shovel and make your way back to the alternative street; grumbling that if you want something done, you gotta do it yourself.

For forty minutes you scrap the street raw, bitterness, dangling from your tongue, minute by minute spewing to yourself about how ridiculous this is. You ignore the ache in your back, keeping focused until you hear the familiar heavy truck make its way near you.

You stop raise your shovel and give the death stare while the city plow goes by on the cross street. You grumble some more, putting the plastic tip to the packed snow and scrape the white stuff to the side. The truck returns to the cross street, but doesn’t stop. Livid, you toss your hands in the air, again, defeated, marching up the street to head back home. Midway up you hear metal on concrete edging closer to you. You step into a snowy driveway, stand the shovel up, and give the death stare again, as the plow truck passes you by.

With biting tongue, you follow the plow to the top of the hill. The driver turns the truck around and stops next to you. “All you have to do is call,” he says. “Someone will come out, maybe not right away, but they will come out.”

“How am I supposed to know that?” you respond. Everything in you wanting to give him a piece of your mind, but you don’t. Swallowing the bitter taste in your mouth, you adjust your ridged position, and speak in a matter of fact tone that still has a bite in it. He continues conversation, but you’ve stopped listening.

“You did a great job shoveling,” he says, while driving away.

Annoyed, you turn back toward home still biting your tongue. You round the corner to the home stretch and see that he didn’t even bother plowing the street your house is on! Grumbling more, you push the sloshy snow to the side, until again, you hear the plow making it’s way back to you.

Why on earth is he back up here, you wonder. He once again stops, this time to talk about two winters ago and how sometimes it’s tough living on the hill. You have nothing to say as the rage slowly dissipates from you and the words coming from his mouth become just that, words.

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