Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fuse Replacement - Kirkpatrick's New Year Message

With my head stuck in the sewing machine, Matthew bent over to kiss me goodbye before leaving for work.  "Find that baby." I stated forcefully, as he moved towards the garage door.  My peripherals noted a grim look and my heart began to sink.  He stopped and turned to tell me they were doing the best they could.

In early December, Georgia had the eerie news of a little girl gone missing in Canton.  For me, all children are called 'babies' -- as my family will attest to.  My husband's job involves working closely (from time to time) with law enforcement.  These can be very dark days...but sometimes they are brilliant when the 'bad guy' is caught.  "I can still hope" came a blurted reply as he quietly shut the door behind him.

Evening brought the worst news.  She had been forcefully taken, and brutally killed.  Helpless, innocent and completely unwarranted.  How?  Why?  I cried, and I know every good mother who heard the news, cried with me.  Sometimes, when life brings it's 'unexplainable' moments..I have a little coping system.  I simply 'switch' my inner circuit and  I just turn my heart's breaker to 'numb me please'.  It works quite well.  I carry on and keep going and just don't stop to think about it.  It's far too sad to think of.  Sad for everyone involved--even the killer.  In taking that sweet baby's life, he took his own -- as he has no future now.  Nothing but punishment.  He has taken the life of his family they will have to continually try and endure the reality of their son's crime.  No.  It's far easier to just switch off.

Morning brought a rush out the door for our 17 year old's final exam.  Driving towards the school I pre-quizzed her with motherly questions, such as - "Are you sure you're prepared?  Do you have everything you need?  What time do you need to be picked up?  Is there enough lunch money in your account?"

"Yes, yes, yes mom" was her calm reply, as she carefully glued on two layers of false lashes to her eyelid in a moving vehicle.  She was struggling with mathematics and thought she would slyly change the subject to Chemistry - which she was doing surprisingly well with.  We spoke of how she would need a life science class to graduate and how her schedule was a bit backwards with doing the chemistry class first.  I explained when I was younger, how science was my least favorite class, but that as I got older, it was the one subject that continuously astounded me.  I told her if I ever had the chance to go back to school I would like to be a 'Micro Biologist'.

"Why?" came her perplexed reply as she sandwiched the next two layers of lashes together in the dimly lit car.  "You like to sew, and put things together.."
"I know, but I just think it's absolutely fascinating that there are things in this world that we can't see with the human eye, yet do so much for our world.  Many forms of plankton are microscopic and yet plankton on the ocean accounts for most of the oxygen we breath.  Isn't that amazing?"  My passionate recital was met with an "Ummm...yeah".  It was the same tone she used when asked if she was the one who left the milk out... 

Turning into the main school entrance, my daughter finished off her makeup with a few dabs of sparkly pink powder and casually mentioned how she heard the little girl was found.  Passion left me, as I lifelessly replied that as big and beautiful and mysterious as this world is, I just don't understand why the good Lord let's it go round...

I couldn't sew that day.  I only sew if I'm happy.  I have this curious belief that everything I create shows a reflection of ourselves -- and I didn't want to make anything in my robotic state of mind.  I decided to give the house and laundry a thorough cleaning, as it had been so neglected over the months (there's just so many other things to do and cleaning is such a drag..).   So after a fitting breakfast, I shrugged off my gloom and put my game face on - I mean, isn't cleaning a sport in some fashion?  I grabbed 2 multi-vitamins, as I knew I was going to need all the help I could get to tackle this mess -- I only stopped briefly as I swallowed, and wished there was some form of tablet we could give our world to make it better.

A multi-tasker by nature, I had clothes washing, clothes drying, half the bathroom cleaned, half the dishwasher emptied, half the bed made and half the living room picked up when I heard the dryer tell me it was time for the second load to go in...only it didn't.  The dryer stopped working....My top of the line, latest, greatest, don't even want to talk about how much they cost, washer and dryer system was only half working.  I pressed.  I turned off, I turned on again.  I hit it, I shook it, I screamed at it..but no response.

"That's okay", I said.  I can handle this.  I will just pull out my handy, dandy, glad I paid for it, 4 year, 24/7 response warranty.  Which I did.  And within 24 hours we had Mr. Repairman at our door.  Matthew moved the dryer out so that inspection could be easily done and that Mrs. Matthew could have her dryer back and in working order promptly. 

"Ma'am", it's the fuse, it's out", said our repairman, who looked very much over-worked and weary.

My mind thought "Yay! It's just a fuse!"  I was thinking it was going to be something big like 'drum replacement' and take a week to get to.

I was expecting the man to tell me he would need to get the fuse from his van and be right back -- but no.  The analysis was, that he would have to order this special type fuse and it would take about a week for him to get it.  "What!"  I said, in a not so kindly tone.  "It's December.  It's Christmas time and I'm suppose to go without a dryer for a week?  Surely it won't take that long to get a fuse!"  I looked deeply into his eyes, willing myself to hypnotize him and be under my full control as my voice ended on quite a stern note. 

The repairman lowered his head in a cowardly position as my husband stepped in with an upbeat, far more civilized reply.  "Well, if that's what it takes, that's what it takes" he smiled, and shook the man's hand graciously.  Inside I was steaming. I admire my husband's cordial treatment towards others..but then I began to think...if I only did .05 percent of the household laundry, I could reply that way as well.

"That's okay", I said to myself again.  I can handle this.  So I pulled out my handy, dandy, made in Europe, all purpose air-dryer stand and got to know it all over again--but not for 1 week--it was now going on two.  As I draped a load of wet clothes over the sturdy bars - yet again, I recalled simpler times, in simpler days.  When my children were very young (and their clothing a portion of the size now), I lived in England--where tumble dryers are NOT in every household.  How often we take things for granted.  I began to feel ashamed of my treatment to the repairman.  He had obviously had such a rugged day and my sharp, jagged mood surely didn't end it well.  But didn't he understand that I was on a cleaning mission?  That is was Christmas time and we're talking about a family of 5 here..? 

It's interesting how our hearts work.  When switched to numb, I discovered that not only were my own feelings severed, but I seemed to not really care about anyone else either.  In turning the warmth of my heart off...I had literally switched other things off a very useful dryer.  Perhaps I was the one who needed a fuse replacement.  The repairman came, and he was welcomed into a much temperate home.  I chatted with him as he installed the new fuse.  There are many sounds I love.  My husbands voice, my children's laughter, rain falling on the roof -- but oh, the delightful noise of a perfectly working tumble dryer! was working perfectly.  That is for exactly one (1) uno, un, singular load...!  After that it stopped working again.  I turned it off and on again and again.  I slapped it, I shook it, and yes, I shouted at it--again.  But no.  No working dryer--again. 

The following day, the new repairman came to our door.  He discovered the wrong type of fuse had been replaced.  He quickly went out to his van and 'voile' came in with the right fuse.  I wanted to hug him when I heard that beautiful sound of the drying going.  When he left, I sat and wondered what the lesson was in my life here...because, you know, there's always a lesson...

We can choose to allow ourselves not to feel.  But in doing so, we shape our inner and outer world.  In the face of evil, hatred, selfishness and unspeakable acts, I chose to switch off.  I chose to be as cold and numb to a world that seemed to reflect the same.  But instead, I needed to replace my fuse with the right component.  I needed to turn up the warmth and love to a higher degree.  We all have our coping mechanisms.  Over this past, very interesting Christmas I have been given my own exam.  The test came in the power of fuse replacement.   Is it possible, that when we witness so much coldness in our's because we're not giving it enough warmth..? 

More news came in.  Another innocent child is in heaven. I cried.  But I did not switch to numb.  I took my daughter to lunch to celebrate an overdue reward.  I patiently helped my 6 year old with an electronic instrument I am not good with.  I went ice-skating with my family when I would have liked to stay home and had some quiet time.  I gave my husband an extra long massage on his injured back.  Because I believe that when we love, we nourish our world.  Every act of patience, every selfless passing, serves to somehow be the Mega-Sport, Multi-Complete Vitamins with Iron that helps this earth along.  At the very instant we refrain from a harsh judgement of another, every time we respond with kindness, every time we forgive and every time we put our loved ones before ourselves we somehow bind the hands of evil.  It's like the microscopic organisms, that although can't always be seen with the human eye-- are doing an invisible wealth of goodness to us all.

Why does God let this ol' world keep spinning?  Because there is still love here.  I believe that as long as one drop of love is left on this earth...the earth will keep going.  Can you imagine how beautiful it could be with a cup of it..?  Believe with me. 

Chimene and Family

P.S.  Just so you know--the dryer is acting up.  Seriously.  It keeps going and going and it won't shut off--even when the clothes are finished.  It just stays warm all the time.  I don't really know if it's broken...or just a part of my lesson.  But "That's Okay."--- "I Can Handle This."

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