Skip to main content

smoking angels

Despite a snow storm of epic proportions yesterday, Dean and I decided (mostly Dean) to go ahead with our plans for the day. We bought shoes for Dean (pretty much the only customers in the store), stopped by to pick up a friend and then went out to dinner downtown, our window table offering views of snowplows and people on their cross country skis passing by on the city sidewalk. After that we caught the subway and headed off to a swing club to learn some new moves and have some fun. The band that was supposed to play that night never made it, but the club manager cranked up the cd's and the group of 20 or so had a great time. The dance instructor said he was going to dance with every lady there that evening if they were up for it, so I allowed him to twist and turn and vault me around the dance floor while I giggled with delight. I have only had three beginner dance lessons but he made me look good.

We got back to our car and started the long drive home which Dean saw as more of an adventure than an ordeal. Halfway home, we pulled into a gas station to clear the ice off the windshield wipers so that we could see where we were going. We noticed that other drivers opted to do this in the middle of the road...interesting concept. The roads were pretty bad; several inches of snow piled into ruts, no clear delineation of lanes, and on top of that, gusts of wind that made visibility virtually zero at times. Nevertheless we drove on at speeds varying from 30 to 70 km/h, not encountering any big trouble. When we pulled into our development, it was with a bit of relief that we were finally home. Not so fast, Matte.

After we turned the corner past the community mailboxes, we saw that the road had not been cleared. Dean grabbed the steering wheel with both hands, set his face like flint, and barrelled in. A truck had left some tracks so we knew it could be done. However, upon rounding a curve, we saw a red car stuck in front of us. Dean got out and tried to help the fellow who appeared not to have snow tires as he got stuck every ten feet or so. He got out of his car three times to shovel and then rocked his car back and forth several times to gain a few feet. The red car guy finally managed to get into his driveway and out of our way and Dean put down the pedal and we rounded the final corner swerving but not stopping. We were going to make it! Then we got to our driveway and saw the drifts that had accumulated there. Oh boy! Dean gave it a good try, but the car just could not clear 2 feet of snow and it got really stuck, the front axle hung up on the packed snow.

I ran inside the garage and grabbed some shovels. I started to clear a path to the garage while Dean attempted to free the car. We dug around it and underneath it and still it didn't budge, no matter how hard Dean pushed. We were halfway in the street and halfway in our driveway and could not leave it there. Dean and I both got on our bellies and took small garden tools and clawed at the snow to free the undercarriage. Nothing seemed to work. Dean was getting frustrated as it was 2 am by now and we were both tired and wet and cold. I started to pray out loud, asking God to send some angels to get the car out because there was no way I could see the two of us accomplishing this task. There was just too much snow and not enough manpower.

A few minutes later I saw the city plow come down the street. We were right in its path so I waved to make sure he saw us. He stopped and stood looking at us for a bit, then backed up and went on to a side street. A few minutes later he was back and I knew we had to move in order for him to clear the street but we really couldn't. From somewhere, a snow removal tractor appeared on the scene. He pulled right up to our car and told us to stand back. He used his snow blower to clear a path around the car, then he and the city snow plow man got out and with me behind the wheel, the three men pushed the car into the street with a few good shoves. The snow removal guy then cleared our driveway and I drove the car into the garage like it was a summer day (relatively speaking). The city plow finished clearing the street and within a minute, the snow moving men and their machines were both gone.

That was the only sign of trucks and tractors that we saw in our area that night. What were the chances of TWO snow removal professionals showing up at our driveway at 2 am in the morning right when we needed them?

Previous to last night, I did not know that angels spoke French and smoked cigarettes. But I did and do know that God takes very good care of us.

This is a picture of my car in the driveway yesterday...not the car we got stuck, but you get the idea. Just add 30 more centimeters of snow.


shane magee said…
can you send those guys round to our driveway?? we haven't been up it since the end of november and the joke's just getting tired (as are we!)

i don't believe in summer anymore. i've lost my faith!

Popular posts from this blog

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.


When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

comedic timing

One of my favourite jokes goes like this:
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Interrupting cow
Interrupting cow w---

Timing is important in both drama and comedy. A well-paced story draws the audience in and helps it invest in the characters, while a tale too hastily told or too long drawn out will fail to engage anyone. Surprise - something which interrupts the expected - is a creative use of timing and integral to any good story. If someone is reading a novel and everything unfolds in a predictable manner, they will probably wonder why they bothered reading the book. And so it is in life. Having life be predictable all of the time is not as calming as it sounds. We love surprises, especially good surprises like birthday parties, gifts, marriage proposals, and finding something that we thought was lost. Surprises are an important part of humour. A good joke is funny because it goes to a place you didn't expect it to go. Similarly, comedic timing allows something unexpected …

singing lessons

When I was a young child, a visiting preacher came to our country church. He brought his two daughters with him, and before he gave his sermon, they sang beautiful duets about Jesus. They had lovely voices which blended well. The preacher, meaning to impress on us their God-given musical talent, mentioned that the girls had never had any singing lessons. The congregation nodded and ooohhed in appreciation. I was puzzled. I didn't understand how not learning was a point of grace or even pride. After all, people who have natural abilities in sports, math, writing, art, or science find it extremely helpful to study under teachers who can aid them in their development and introduce them to things outside their own experience. Being self-taught (though sometimes the only option available to those with limited resources) is not a cause for pride or celebration. Why? Because that's just not how the communal, relational Creator set things up.

I have been singing since I was a child. …