Today’s find: Better, together

Day 8 of “shelter-in-place”: in which I disassemble a corded hedge trimmer, for parts.

The tool, to be sure, has seen its better days. It’s among the oldest items in my limited array of yard-aides – so it was not at all surprising when the Black & Decker hacked-and-wheezed its way into near-total ineffectiveness the other day.

So long, old friend…your service life has come to an end.

“A cracked lead wire,” I surmised. “Or faulty plug prongs, perhaps. But the motor still seems to function…”

And thus began the disassembly escapade.

Surely, the fault is in our wires, or our prongs.

An ill-advised adventure, it turns out. From the outside – to my lame-brain, anyway – it looked like the motor could be removed from the rest of the tool, intact. And once removed, surely there’d be a way for some Clever Handy Dude (but most definitely, Not Me) to put it back to work…in a different and perhaps highly entertaining application.


What I discovered is this: Remove a few screws, and the whole dang thing starts to fall apart. You’re not removing a motor. You’re liberating motor parts from their precision-cut interconnections.

Yes, under that rugged and ruddy orange plastic housing are a collection of purpose-built components…elegantly machined pieces, all…pieces that don’t take kindly to repurposing schemes.

Winding down a pointless escapade…

Still taunted by the fecklessness of the whole project, I gave half a thought to how I might reclaim the copper windings. “Surely they must have some residual value…”  But I got nothing except a grease stain on my tee-shirt for my trouble.

It was only this morning, as I participated virtually in the liturgy for the 5th Sunday of Lent, that I received the blessing I’d been looking for. Today, we hear the story of Jesus raising his friend Lazarus from the dead. And I noticed that it’s not so much the resuscitation miracle that touched my heart – but the interconnections among all the people in the story.

Take, for instance, the fact that Jesus had a dear friend – one he loved so much that his passing moved him to tears. Jesus – Emmanuel, God With Us, God Incarnate – in a very human moment spends time weeping for his friend.

Notice this also: How Jesus reaches out to the two sisters, Martha and Mary. He speaks to them individually, consoles them one-on-one. And not only them. He is present to the broader community as well – everyone who loved Lazarus, or knew him…including many who meant Jesus harm.

Jesus, ever the Teacher, shows us – even in his grief – how we are all part of one Body. How we are all interconnected.

It’s an important lesson, in any Lenten season. But particularly today, I think, in this time of social isolation, we should take a moment to savor – and be blessed by – the promise of Christ’s presence. And while we’re at it, I suppose we each oughta be looking for ways to be Christ’s presence (even if only virtually) to those who might be feeling cut off from the Body of Christ.

That’s a bit more useful in the long run, I’d wager, than the time spent trying to remove windings from the motor in a broken-down hedge trimmer.

Precious parts, all. And all much better, together.


Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.


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3 thoughts on “Today’s find: Better, together

  1. Mary Kopuster

    It’s so human to know Jesus weeps. Perhaps He does so today with us all. And it’s good to know He gave us a sense of humor to bring us to His Presence, as well. Thanks John. I’m sure this social distancing will bring many opportunities for Faith.

  2. The telephone has become an important way to be God’s presence for so many people right now. Surprisingly, that’s not only for the people who live alone.

    • Yes, and I’ve been blessed to hear from a number of dear friends…some of them, for the first time in years…so that’s definitely a grace to be found in this otherwise confounding situation!

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