"You Do It Your Way, and I'll Do It Mine"
(By: Jenny Mason)

4-11-2014 Church Within SOW Seeds Service - Story #776

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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome again to Church Within's Story of the Week ["SOW Seeds”].

This week's SOW Seeds Story, contributed by: Patije

Story of the Week
“You Do It Your Way, and I'll Do It Mine”
(By: Jenny Mason)

The hardest part about being the youngest kid in the family is not that you're shorter than everyone else. It's not that you can't keep up, or that you're the first one hurt when the roughhousing starts. It's not that you're the last to get a serving of whatever snack just came out of the oven.

All that stuff is pretty annoying. But it's nowhere near as bad being told, “No, do it this way.” I used to hear that all the time.

If I asked to help Grandma when she was baking her famous crispy golden cornbread, she'd slide the big mixing bowl to where I could reach it, then tell me to mix up the ingredients. I'd grab that big wooden spoon and stir the batter, but Grandma would stop me and say, 'No, do it this way or you'll spill it.” She showed me how she wanted it stirred, and I did my best to imitate her on the second try.

If I asked Dad how I could help when he was working in the garage, he'd hand me a wrench and show me which bolt to loosen or to tighten. I could get about two cranks in before he'd stop me and say, “No, do it this way or you'll strip the bolt.” I watched and did my best not to blunt the corners.

When my older sister Missy and I dressed up our dolls for a fancy dinner party, I was put in charge of doing the dolls' hair. Three wraps into a lovely braid, my sister would reach for the doll and say, “No, do it this way.” She would twist the hair and pin it just right, and I'd try hard to do it that way on the next doll.

I couldn't even color in a coloring book without the teacher pausing by my desk to say, “No, do it this way.” Color in the lines, she advised. Stroke the crayon back and forth carefully so it fills in the shapes thoroughly.

I knew they were all trying to teach me how to do something faster or better, or without making a mess. But I didn't like feeling wrong all the time. I was so frustrated. I wanted to tell everyone, “Stop telling me what to do.”

One weekend, my family got together to help Grandma and Grandpa with spring cleaning and gardening. My cousin Brian, the oldest of all the grandchildren, got to work mowing the lawn. His sister Jaime and my sister Missy got to plant all the pretty flowers in the garden. The adults took up shovels and started cutting a route for a stone-paved walkway that would go around the garden.

I asked what I could do to help. Grandpa led me to the big juniper bush at the front of the lawn. The bush had once been trimmed to look like a big green square with blue berry bells. Now, long frizzy branches grew out in all directions. The bush looked like a big green porcupine. Grandpa used a pair of long-handled gardening shears to chomp off the green bristles.

Clip! Clip! Clip! Grandpa flattened out one side of the juniper in three quick cuts. He gave me the shears and told me to trim the other side. He waited to watch, but I didn't do anything. I worried that as soon as I tried, I would do it the wrong way.

“I can do it by myself, Grandpa,” I said.

Grandpa tipped his hat with a wink and said he would come back to check on me. When he was gone, and when no one was looking, I lifted the big heavy shears and clipped at the jagged bristles sticking out of the bush.

I missed… I clipped again. This time a big wad of green bbits crunched between the blades. But they didn't clip away. Instead, they jammed the blades together. I pulled and tugged and finally freed the shears. I couldn't do it! I couldn't trim the juniper the right way. I wanted to cry.

I leaned the big shears against the fence and ran into the house. I took a pair of regular scissors from the junk drawer in the kitchen and ran back out to the bush.

Snip. Snip. Snip. Little bits and bristles fell to the ground.

Snip. Snip. Snip. I took a step back to inspect my work. The porcupine pincushion looked flat and neat on my side.

Grandpa strolled back to the juniper. He watched me with the scissors and said, “That way will take all day.”

He picked up the big shears and I knew he was about to tell me: “No, do it this way.” But he stopped. He shouldered the big shears and looked at the side he had trimmed, then back at mine. After a minute, he lifted his cap, scratched his head, and laughed. “Your side looks better than mine.”

I gawked. “You mean my way isn't wrong?”

“No ma'am. Your way works just fine.” Grandpa leveled the big shears at the juniper bush and said, “I'll bet we can get this bush trimmed together in no time. You do it your way, and I'll do it mine.”

I was so happy my way wasn't wrong. Grandpa cut the really big and bristly branches, then I trimmed up all the pokey, prickly bits. We squared off all four sides in no time. The top of the juniper was too high for me to reach, so I showed Grandpa my little-scissor trimming techniques. For the most part, he did exactly what I showed him, but a few times he snipped in weird ways. I didn't correct him though. His way might have been a little different, but it got the job done.

As I grew up, I still learned from other people when they showed me new methods, but I realized the point is not always to imitate or copy cat. It is okay to do things just a little bit differently. Grandma's cornbread was always so crispy golden good because she did it in her own, unique way. Missy's dolls always had such beautiful hairstyles, and Dad never stripped a bolt, because their ways were different from anybody else's.

Being different is fine, which is why I figure out my own way of doing things.

Pastor's Quote of the Week
If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

(From: Vincent van Gogh )

The Prayer
Dear God,        
        May Your way become my way.

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Eternal Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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