Today’s find: Opening

I’m notorious in some circles for bringing inappropriate tools to various “fix-it” projects.

I don’t even own a plumber’s wrench, for example. But that hasn’t stopped me from attempting (rather ineptly, as it turns out) to install several different faucets around the house. Conversely, while there IS a hammer-drill in my modest collection of power tools, I’ve yet to discover in what sort of situation I’d actually deploy the beast: What the heck is it FOR anyway? Why does one need a hammer-drill AND a drill-driver?

In that context, I was delighted to learn from one of my “handy” friends the other day that I’d likely need nothing more than a flat-head screwdriver to solve a problem with our garage door opener. “Even I can handle a screwdriver,” I thought to myself. “So maybe I won’t have to call a service technician after all.”

Here’s the “trouble” I was attempting to shoot: Punch the button on the remote, and the door would close about 4/5ths of the way, before automatically reversing to the “full-open” position. (Seemed to me it had begun to take its name – garage door opener – a little too seriously.) Now even an HID (Home Improvement Doofus) like me knows to check for obstructions that might somehow have slipped into the path of descent – but that wasn’t the problem. I even cleaned the lenses on the infrared sensors, thinking a build-up of dirt might somehow be involved. Alas, my attempts at finding “simple” fixes solved nothing.

One thing I AM accomplished at is describing my home-improvement frustrations to our post-daily-Mass coffee klatch. And that’s when I received some encouraging news. “You know there’s a ‘close force’ adjustment knob on the motor, right? Just turn it with a screwdriver, and the problem might be solved,” one friend said.


I mean, really: What could be simpler?

Duly heartened, I grabbed my screwdriver and sat down to watch a few YouTube videos, just to be safe. The online experts all suggested the same thing: There’s a good chance I could solve the problem myself – without ruining the motor or destroying the garage door. Brimming with hubris, I headed into the garage…set up the stepladder…and set to work. Alas, three or four ‘close force’ adjustments later, the blasted door continued its recently-acquired habit of reversing course near the end.

At that point, I was thisclose to making a much-dreaded appointment for a service call. But I paused just long enough to click on the next video in the YouTube queue – in which it was suggested the problem “might be something as simple as a leaf, stuck in the weatherstripping.”

A leaf.

Yes, of COURSE it was a leaf – wedged in at the bottom at the bottom of the door, and perfectly positioned to trip the infrared safety sensors as it passed. I didn’t even need a flathead screwdriver to remove it.

My vexatious “opening” is now closed, safely and soundly – just in time for me to ponder the challenging wisdom in Jesus’ teaching this week.

When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles.

I’ve heard it said – in fact, most of my culture shouts – that this is NOT the way to get ahead in the world. If you wanna win, or even just protect what’s yours, you really need to deploy an “Old Testament” form of justice. An eye for an eye. But Jesus encourages me to be perfect, even as the Holy One is perfect.

And I am left to wonder, are there some really simple ways – some easily overlooked ways – that might lead me through a different opening…toward a Christ-like peace, generosity – and perhaps even perfection – in my daily life?


No tools required.

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


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Today’s find: Opening

  1. Mark Dean

    Nice and amusing reflection. But what I really enjoyed is how you spelled “this close” as “thisclose”, to show us just how close it really was.

  2. Tom Hanewinkel

    A George Costanza moment. I put my hand into the blowhole of the beast and pulled out the obstruction. Is it a Titleist? So appropriate for a golfer of modest talent.

  3. Mary Jost

    I love this John! It sounds easy. Not for me!!!!

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