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home : opinion : opinion July 14, 2020

3/27/2020 3:10:00 PM
Stretched Door Spring And You

Marty Reep, Author
Speaker, Forward-Thinker

Door springs are funny. When they’re new, they work great – sometimes, too great…like swatting you in the rear, if you don’t get through the doorway fast enough. When they’re in the middle of their life span, they pretty well tow the line – keeping out the varmits and keeping in the kids. Toward the end of their functionality, they let their doors flop open in the wind and don’t flex back like they’re supposed to. Then, the varmits get in, the kids get out…it’s a mess. So, the old door spring gets taken off the door, is laid aside, and a new spring nailed on.

When I was kid – a kid who would get out, when the spring let me – there used to be one of those long, thin, metal ones on my grandparents’ back porch door. One day, while visiting with them, Mamaw said, “Go get me two pair of pliers out of the toolbox.” “Yes, Ma’am,” and I took off for the shed. When I got back to the kitchen, she was sitting at the table with the old spring in her hand. It didn’t look like the nice shiny ones in the store. This one was worn out, floppy, and had gaps in a few places in the curls.

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Thinking back over the years it had been on the door, it had seen hundreds of sunrises, sweltered in the summertime heat, frozen in the ice of winter, and weathered numerous storms. It had held it firmly throughout it all, until it was stretched out beyond use. Instead of throwing the spring in the trash pile and calling it done, Mamaw put one part of the spring in one pair of pliers and put another part in the other pliers. Twisting and pulling, wiggling and bending, Mamaw masterfully teased the curls out of the bent end of the spring. After a few minutes, she had turned part of that spring into a beautiful length of straight wire.

“Wow. How can you straighten it out like that?” I asked her.

“’Cause it’s solid on the inside,” she grinned and said.

“What are you going to do with it?”

“Well, I need a piece to tie that fence back together, out by the oak tree.”

“To keep the cows in?

“That’s right. And, I’ll use another piece between the bean poles in the garden.”

“For growing beans, so we can eat ‘em!”

“Yes, so we can eat ‘em.”

“And the rest of it?”

“We’ll save it for emergencies.”

“What kind of emergency?”

“Whatever life decides to throw at us.”

Roll forward to today…

Thinking back on that day and my grandmother’s perspective, our lives are like that spring, in some ways. We’re great for a while, but over time, life stretches us ‘til we’re not as optimal as we once were. But, with Masterful intervention, we can be straightened out and repurposed.

Things may seem bent from time to time, but with the right perspective and good tools applied to our lives, we, too, can recover from the stretching. Our purpose, vocation, location, or day-to-day activities may be forced to change, but our value does not diminish. Whatever shape your life takes over the next few months, you will continue do well, as long as you’re solid on the inside.

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