by Paul Casey

Sweep the Sand Off Your Sidewalk

Now that it’s winter, I remembered something that happened after winter last spring. I noticed city employees with brooms sweeping the sand off the sidewalks on the steepest hill in my city–sand that had been put there on the iciest day of last winter to prevent slipping injuries of pedestrians. Days later a street sweeper vehicle finished the job. What an aesthetic difference it made to go from weeks of dingy sidewalks to ones swept clean for spring, almost signifying the transition from one season to another.

We go through life seasons, too. During difficult circumstances, life is hard (like in winter), with extra struggles/hassles/demands for our time and setbacks on the pursuit of the vision we had for our lives. We build in coping strategies to prevent slipping into deep despair/depression (like sand on the ice), and it works, for the most part, in that “surviving” season.

Then, we emerge on the other side of it. Some type of closure occurs, and it becomes time to grieve that loss of momentum (or other losses) and to make the decision to grow forward. We need a spring season of personal rebirth to overshadow the winter of stagnation/survival. 

So, you must “sweep the sidewalk.” It’s like a mental ritual to put the past in the past and not let it define your future anymore.

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