Tooling around

Carol is a rather commanding woman of prodigious talent in an arena where I am well below novice level on my best day.   If I look hard enough, I know where to add gasoline, oil and windshield washer fluid.  She can rebuild an engine.  My stash of tools fits into a small wooden toolbox made by my son as a scout project.  A select few of hers completely fill the trunk of her car when she makes house calls. 

 This past December she made good on her promise that she would teach me to change the oil in my car.  While I had my doubts, she never wavered.  After laying a blue mat on the floor of the garage, positioning jacks (completely mobile – each with its own set of wheels!), laying out a platoon’s worth of tools (mostly wrenches, including one that was made to fit the oil filter), bottles of oil, the new filter, and a basin in which to catch the old oil, she handed me blue plastic gloves to put over my winter gloves.  I remember laughing a bit nervously as she instructed me to get beneath the car and loosen a bolt.  But, away we went!

 Carol’s patience with my lack of experience was nothing short of monumental.  When I couldn’t budge something (I have had shoulder injuries), she would loosen it some and allow me to finish the task.  Each instruction came with an explanation and the proper tools.  Only when one step led immediately to another did she allow her commentary to get ahead of where I was in the sequence before returning to the step in which I was engaged. 

 Her knowledge of tools is truly amazing.  I truly would not have been able to change the oil without her tools – mine would have been completely inadequate for the task at hand.  It’s like this with prayer, too.  Over the past few years I have been learning new tools for praying with centering meditation, labyrinth walking, taking time to review one’s day to find the “God” moments, mindfulness in activity, and gratitude. 

 Tools matter, both in car repair and in one’s prayer life. 


About don

The Rev Don Hill is an Episcopal priest, rail fan and writer. He and his wife the Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill are currently Co-Pastors of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffersonville IN, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. They also work as parish consultants in Appreciative Inquiry, strategic planning and spirituality development for parishes and vestries.
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