As epiphanies go this one won’t win me any awards but it was kind of funny so I’m going to share it anyway. I took my chain saw to Nuts n Bolts Hardware today to get it worked on so I can use it to destroy three overgrown bushes in the front of my house. It turned out that the only problem it had, was me. I forgot how to tighten the blade. Luckily the man at the service desk wasn’t that busy and he took the time to explain this simple procedure. After he was done giving me a refresher course in chain saw maintenance he asked if he could fire it up, because well, who doesn’t want to hear a chain saw running? I said, “Sure thing as long as it doesn’t scare anybody in the store.” He replied, “That’s OK. We start sh*t all the time.” To which I said, “You should get a sign and make that your motto.” And then it hit me – that’s my motto.
When I was just a little tyke I was very contrary. If the teacher told the class to go stand by the wall and all the other kids chose the east wall, I walked across the room and stood by the west wall, all by myself just to be different. When my Sunday School teacher was sharing her message about the greatness of being with God every Sunday morning, I raised my hand and asked, “What about Superman? He’s pretty great too.” For some reason I can’t possibly explain, my brain always had the opposite thought. Lucky for me, I was cute and funny and nobody ever took my reaction the wrong way. They just laughed and reminded me that when I got bigger I could do it my way.
Now I’m as big as I’ll ever be and it’s still hard to be a contrarian. Yesterday was just one more episode in a long line of times I have gone against the grain and gotten splinters. In my work with foster children I get my schedule a week in advance. I get told who, what, when and where but not much about how or why. I get to fill in the blanks and I spend a lot of time pondering how and why. I can’t give a detailed explanation of the latest crisis because it could get me in more trouble if my boss ever discovered this blog but let’s just say it was monumentally ignorant and I was not willing to risk the lives or limbs of four kids to do the job the way it was assigned.
When I pointed out the fly in the ointment by way of an email on Monday of this week, I got no response, which is par for the course. I always have to ask more than once for help. The tipping point came when I filled out my annual review online and I got to the very first question, “How well do you communicate with others in the company about potential problems and do you always seek better solutions?” Well now I was stuck. I couldn’t answer this truthfully without following through on my immediate problem. So I called again and set off a huge conflagration in my department. I wasn’t there so I only have second-hand accounts of the finger-pointing that went on when the truth came out but knowing the players like I do, I’m sure it was epic and ugly for all concerned.
Here’s my takeaway from my latest epiphany. Nothing in life will ever get better if we don’t start sh*t all the time. It’s as simple as that. Someone has to stand up and say, “I have a question. Why are we doing it that way?” I say this because of what I learned back in church. Jesus was the archetype for all contrarians. He raised questions and gave better answers throughout His whole life. He pointed out the error of our ways with a sense of compassion and an unerring devotion to finding the truth. He challenged every one of the tenets of His Jewish faith and gave us something better to believe in, salvation through redemption. For His good works, He was crucified and died. Then He did the most contrarian thing ever and came back from the dead just to prove His point. His absolute faith, dignity, love and courage changed the world forever.
As my epiphanies go, this one is right up there. Let’s all try to start sh*t all the time and then ask for forgiveness. It works for me but then again I’m cute and funny.
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