Of Wielding Knives Wisely and Well



Our ten year old granddaughter gets her lunch ready for school most mornings.  We have a list of menu suggestions we have come up between the two of us.  So today she made her “fabulous sandwich.”  We bought a round loaf of crusty white sourdough bread for just this creation of hers—yes, full of bad additives and ‘enriched’ flour; no doubt it’s not the best for you. (We make a few compromises now and then to keep the little chef happy because she gets tired of sandwiches every day at school.  Don’t blame her.  This will be the only sandwich of the week, so it’s gotta be good.)

She had great joy in wielding a big serrated knife.  It is satisfying, especially at age 10, I suppose, to wield a knife carefully and well like a responsible adult.  What a sense of control and accomplishment!  Then to assemble her ham, pepperoni, and cheese and see her put in several toothpicks to hold it all together just so.  Pretty cute.

I do wish a lot of things in life could be as agreeable, that I could take a knife and cut some things down to size, that I could pin tasks down exactly where I want them to fit in my day. But life is full of unexpected curve balls and interruptions.

Like yesterday when I was happily in the middle of hauling heaps of old, unused books, folders, toys, and clothes from our closets to the car, I realized that an energy sag was coming on.  In years passed my friends and I pressed on with great vigor to get things done; certainly there are times I still do this.

But I’m having some challenges with medication changes and have had to slow my pace.  I was eager to get stuff out of the house and to Good Will and the dumpster.  But I knew I needed a little help, much as I hated to admit it..  I prayed that the fella at Good Will would be around to trundle out his cart to help me get stuff into the building instead of taking one sack at a time when no one is there to help.

He was there, rolling the cart right out as I came with the first load!  A kind and cheerful, slight of stature black man.  Was I ever glad to see him!  Saved a little time too, getting it in one swoop.

Then for the dumpster job.  I prayed for help again—and again, pride said I should do it all myself but extra efforts like heaving bags over the edge of the dumpster would set off unruly hormone storm disturbances, so I asked my sweet neighbor Crissy if her big old teenage boy with bulging muscles and charming smile could help me.   He could and did, willingly and with that great smile.

Gee, I remember giving him a ride on my back when he was little and tired as we took a walk with his family.   Sweet exchanges.

Brain research indicates that multitasking isn’t really all that effective.  Maybe slowing down and pacing myself a bit, more focused on each task is a good thing.

Really.  You don’t have to be all to everybody, do all for everybody, do everything others expect of you nor even what you may expect of yourself.

Maybe we can live with that…live better and more serenely.  It’s not possible hardly ever to carve up tasks and moments to please our preferences.  But maybe we can ‘toothpick’ some good moments to savor in the middle of the messes.



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