Leverage

Yesterday, I was brushing my teeth with a fancy, multicolored, name brand toothbrush, and the handle snapped in two. My teeth must be pretty tough thanks to Doctor Jay who gives me a new brush after every check up. Luckily, that neon pink rubber design around the handle kept the pieces together and protected my hand so I could finish. Leverage was difficult, and this directed me to my weekly deep thought analysis. A simple tool can give us the very important leverage that we need. I taught that lesson to my Third Grade Class with fun experiments. We need leverage to accomplish our goals not only for physical needs but in spiritual needs. The simple tool for spiritual leverage is faith. King David repeatedly demonstrates this in his historical accounts from the time he was a boy facing Goliath, to his ultimate leadership of a nation. Saint Paul demonstrates spiritual leverage as well with the simple tools of prayer and trust in Christ. This battle of the soul changed the mindset of people in every town where he bravely spoke out. We use leverage in relationships too. My favorite simple tool is kindness. I enjoy doing kind things for others and really appreciate those who are kind to me. Selfless acts of kindness like inviting, sharing, noticing and fulfilling a need with no return expectation are easy ways to build crucial relationships. My hubby reminds me of the importance of leverage in business too. The simple tool is being prepared. He says hard work to obtain knowledge and truth, far outweighs being the smartest or the wealthiest. I hope I condensed that accurately, but I picture him shaking his head. In any event, leverage gives us an advantage that can result in accomplished goals and victory. Improper use of a simple tool can cause a pressure point that looses leverage. Do your children remind you as mine do to stop pressuring them? Finding the right placement of the simple tool is the delicate part of parenting. Faith, trust, prayer, and being prepared are in my tool box. It is now time to schedule a dental appointment and get a new toothbrush.

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The Right Day and Time?

This month, Hannah and I experienced some delightful serendipity. On April seventh, we went to dinner at Phoebe’s and a show at Syracuse Stage to see “The Christians”. It was a powerful new piece about how one theological idea can cause an insurmountable schism. People are often eager to point out our faults instead of forgiving us. On Saturday, Hannah bought tickets to see “My Fair Lady” as a gift for my birthday. Unfortunately, my poor hubby was unable to attend as he was knocked out by a respiratory virus. Hannah and I walked to the theater somewhat downhearted without him, but coughing to the tune of “Get Me to the Church on Time” did not sound advisable. When we arrived, Hannah noticed our tickets were dated for the day before! Heart on the sidewalk smashed to pieces and the tears started. I just wanted to hug her and turn back time. We were walking distance from home, but we were also just two blocks away from the Landmark theater where “Phantom of the Opera” had just opened their doors to seat the audience. We ducked into the box office to see if seats were still available. We landed two prime spots in row O with the crystal chandelier right overhead. The whole performance was magnificent! I threatened our seat mates that I would be singing along out loud, but I was quietly transfixed by the beautiful staging of every scene, and spine tingling notes of every singer. The next day I walked back to the OnCenter Theater where Eliza Dolittle was giving her final performance. I was hoping I could exchange the tickets we had not used. They said, “Yes!” And we were given the same seats Hannah had purchased in the front row balcony. “With a Little Bit Of Luck”🎶, we enjoyed all three theater productions in one week! After the show, we were at Cafe Kubal, and a striking young man came in. I said to Hannah,”He looks like a dancer”. When we passed by him (goofy mom that I am) I asked, “Are you a dancer?”. He said, “Yes”. I thought myself quite clever even though I was kind of kidding, but then realized he must be from the show across the street and perhaps staying at a downtown hotel. So, we chatted and he was in fact one of the dancers from “Phantom”, and I gushed about how much we enjoyed the show the night before. It doesn’t end there. Hannah was serving at the Mission without me that week as I was now fighting the voracious virus. She brings home a photo on her phone of stars from the Phantom cast serving with her! Sometimes when mix-ups paint a dark cloud of disappointment and a thunderstorm of tears emerge, a rainbow forms overhead to point us to the perfect alternative. Don’t ever give up when plans change. I am so thankful to those who bring us music and storytelling. All the broken heart pieces have been retrieved from the sidewalk and fused together to make a stronger songful heart. For optimum heart health I recommend patience and forgiveness for those of us who blunder.🎶”Love me, that’s all I ask of you.🎶

Are You Listening?

Yesterday, I jumped into the shower (well, at my age, I stepped precariously) and I realized once I added shampoo to my hair, that I was still wearing my hearing aids. No wonder the shower had a wonderful waterfall sound. I quickly removed them while suds started gliding down my face, and groped for the towel. I dabbed them dry and placed them gently on the counter. The rest of my routine went as usual with no mishaps as I hurried to get back to my delicate pieces of technological miracles to see if they still functioned. I believe they are still performing well, even though my auditory skills are functioning at sixty- five percent of normal. Without my aids, some people sound like they are talking under water, so adding more water into the situation is not advisable. My hearing impairment is sometimes the source of merriment in my family. When it sounds like they are asking crazy questions, I repeat what I think I have heard. “Do you want to stay there?”, says my hubby, but it sounds more like, ” Do you want Fay’s hair?”. Fay is my lovely next door neighbor, so that one is more logical than some of the other gibberish I hear. I often nod my head when listening to a group and can’t grasp every word. My children see this and ask if am in my happy place. Quiet places are happy places. Nothing is more confounding than a room where several people speak at once. Can anyone hear two people talk at once and understand both of them? Sounds like a fun experiment to try at the next dinner party. What I have learned from having a disability is how insensitive we are to others who are not able to do the things we can do. It is not just physical limitations, but cognitive ability that alters the way we perceive others. We may respond by teasing, excluding, or ignoring others because they don’t fit in or they make us uncomfortable. How can we do better in a world which is so diverse? A good start is listening to our heart in order to recognize the situations that throw us off our center. When we hear negativity, we must intentionally substitute something positive. When we hear things that are hurtful, we must recognize the lies and substitute the truth. When an inner voice says, “This person is so different from me”, we should celebrate the opportunity to experience something new. If we go beyond our comfort zone we may be surprised by a refreshing new relationship. Hearing is helpful but listening is even more important. Sometimes, I seem snobbish when people call out to me and I ignore them. The reason is that I truly did not hear. “Forgive us as we forgive others,” dear Lord. Open my heart, and open my ears even when they are wet and soggy; so that I may know how to include those who have been excluded, teased, or ignored and are waiting patiently to be a part of the community. Yes, my hearing aids are on!

Shocking

Yesterday, I was making seven grain wheat toast in a traditional style toaster, and when the lever popped up the toast was stuck. It required a sharp implement to release it, and of course I had a knife in hand ready to butter my breakfast. So, you may expect that I attempted to carefully coax the end of the bread out only to touch something electrical and get a buzzing shock? No, I unplugged the toaster first. I am the daughter and sister of electrical engineers after all. The toast was delicious slathered with New Balance spread. As I was contemplating the feeling of shock that I did experience in my youth; I could not help thinking of the things that so often shock me emotionally. All the tragedy reported in the media, seeing children in dire condition in the hospital, the behavior of people around us- even ones we thought we understood. Shock sometimes leads to anger and misunderstanding. This is very dangerous because decisions made in a bad frame of mind lead to irreparable damage. Most of us feel a need to vent our anger and this is when writing a letter can be useful- but not on social media. It may be better to put it in a drawer or under a mattress with the retirement money for safe keeping. I seem to be proclaiming my shock rather often lately to the delicate ears of my daughter and constant companion. Some behaviors she will defend on behalf of the whole millennial generation. Other atrocities we bring to prayer knowing a single voice can make a difference when it reaches the proper ears. It would be so nice if we could simply “unplug” to prevent the shock. Some people do successfully stay away from news and technology that has annoying, frustrating, or appalling messages. The salvation message is one we should not ignore. It is shocking to think one person took on the sin of the world. How can love be so compelling and victorious? This resurrection message is one of redemption. When we share the gospel it starts with a single charge that can multiply and grow like an electrical field that becomes a current that flows at the speed of light. The energy is powerful and positive in such a way that it changes lives for the better. Embracing the Easter message is the way I can survive the shock treatment. Spreading the message is as satisfying as the butter on the bread. If we ignore the charge, the result could be burning to a crisp like the toast that is stuck. How wonderful when the bread is warmed to perfection and pops right up.