Editor’s note: The Tooele Transcript Bulletin welcomes a new weekly column called Monday’s Warm Cocoa by local businessman Lynn Butterfield. It focuses on uncommon wisdom from common people.
It had been months since the last time I sat and talked with my friend Rod. We normally get together more often. But sometimes life just takes over. He graciously and patiently rescheduled with me a couple of times due to my challenging schedule.
When we did sit down, I noticed he was radiating a profound peacefulness. It made me feel warm inside to see how well he was doing. He told me of his family and how well each member is doing. I enjoyed seeing updated photos while receiving a happenings update. He also, toward the end of our visit, revealed the source of his self-assurance.
Rod explained the beginnings of a large trial and how he carefully navigated his way through its challenges. I knew some of his story, but this time he went into more detail. I marveled at how he unfolded each event. Yet, it wasn’t until the next day what I learned from him was fully revealed.
Early the next morning, I was in the cold dawn feeding my cows and I looked at two large piles of baling twine that had grown into one huge mass over time. That big mess was there before me. OK. I’ll admit it. I added to the pile too. It was so large I hadn’t begun to unravel it. I’ve left it in that same spot for years. It was still there on this particular morning. I looked. I shrugged. I began to walk away.
I took one step and then I stopped. I was prompted from what Rod had taught me the day before. I didn’t need to sort out this whole mess right this minute! I had already taken the first important step: I had stopped adding to the pile! Now I could follow his example and remove just one string from the mess.
I reached a tentative hand out and tugged at one strand of twine. To my surprise it slipped easily from the seemingly immovable tangle! I took that one piece of twine and wound it up. Next, I took it out to the hay barn, walked to my every day trash can, and made a deposit.
This one simple act left me feeling as if I had just conquered an impenetrable fortress! I could see the end of that huge mess for the very first time. It no longer mattered to me that I didn’t make the mess. It only mattered that I knew I could remove the entire mess from my life by removing it one simple string at a time over time.
I’m sure you’ve experienced the trauma of an unresolved mess in your own life. If it’s like mine, it may have started outside of your control. Those are a horrible kind. I found myself saying over and over again, “I didn’t make this mess. I shouldn’t have to clean it up!” I would simply look at it and feel overwhelmed, resentful and helpless.
The problem is that such feelings were continually causing me to harbor resentment while keeping my focus on the unresolved mess! Rod’s revelation of how to clear up a mess “one string at a time” allows you and me to become free of burdens easily over time while enjoying hope, strength and joy immediately.
Tug on one string today.
Lynn Butterfield is a resident of Erda and a managing broker for a real estate company.