Finding Power

I listen to K-Love, a national Christian rock radio station. I identify with the Christian messages, but I really listen to it because music really is uplifting and encouraging. For the most part the songs have great and innovative beats (I really like For King and Country out of Seattle) and great messages (Reckless Love by Cory Asbury and Known by Tauren Wells and a whole bunch more.) Tonight while driving home I heard a “K-Love” song on another rock station!

The station also features short ministry messages and I wish I had earlier found out who the person was that gave this 1 minute ministry message on how to revamp, as I can’t now find it on their website. I’ll do my best to recall the highlights because it illustrates my thoughts on doing for ourselves what we would do for others.

The story goes a car owner got going down the road and found the car had no umph and so took it to a mechanic who found a squirrel had stuffed a pound of nuts into the air filter! The ministry message – if your spiritual engine is sluggish, look under the hood, see what’s plugging it up and give your faith a good scrubbing – resonated with me on many levels.

Lately I have been reflecting on how things that get put off don’t get attention until someone else moves into the picture.

When my husband and I were preparing to sell our first house and move into a new one, we repaired, replaced and redid every square inch of our little home. We did all the little things that we always wanted to do, but couldn’t find the time or energy. When we were done, our little house was so fine that I had serious second thoughts about selling it.

We lived there eight years and didn’t get those improvement or cleaning projects done until we were leaving. Why could we do for others what we wouldn’t do for ourselves? I decided that every five years we should clean, repair and improve our new house and belongings as if we were moving. The first five years passed quickly and the next five went just as fast. We are now approaching 15 years and not once have done the mock move. We have made many improvements and changes, but we haven’t set the time aside to go through everything head to foot, attic to basement, and make a fresh start. I still think we could find a powerful energy by doing that.

Why do we clean for others much more than we do for ourselves? If we were having a party or if grandparents were visiting, our house gets scrubbed! But even then I don’t go through the clothes closets and clean out the too small, too worn or too yuck. I don’t go through the Christmas decorations and get rid of all the light strings that no longer work. I don’t go through my home office and organize paperwork. So much stuff!

I can apply the same thoughts to my writing. I am much more careful with my construction and grammar here on the Page Turner or with emails to teachers than I am with emails or texts to family. Of all people, I should not be less attentive in the skill I apply to writing at any time because I know and appreciate the power of the written word. But I am.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop with me. The expectations of student writing, both the grammar and the content, is so low today. I’m not blaming teachers, I thin it is bigger than that. I think there is a general societal shift away from personal reflection in written communication. For example, today I was going through lists of students who (I think) had entered their information themselves. Some names were listed properly with the first and last names capitalized, but there were many where the names were lower cased or nicknames were used.

I believe in the power of the written word and the freedom it protects. We need to clean out this lackadaisical attitude toward written communication and see that it is a mirror of our self-image, both individually and as a community. If you don’t think so, take a moment to reflect on how you see a person who writes a Facebook blog compared to Jane Austen who wrote Pride and Prejudice. Both are writing on the societal events of their times. Who is the more esteemed writer in your mind? How do you compare with what and how you write?

When it comes to reading, I go through stages where I read books that are not … well, not good, but are easy to read. At other times I seek the classics, something that has meat on the bones. Unfortunately, the easy books get chosen too often because I don’t have time or I don’t have the energy to tackle a “hard” book. When I do take up a well-written, well-edited novel with depth and layers of meaning and thought, I get so much more value out of the act of reading. Just as when I do a thorough house cleaning, I have more enjoyment of my home. Just as a car has more gusto with a nut-free air filter.

Enjoy the read, T C Robinson

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