Sunday, December 30, 2012

Don't Cry 'Uncle.'

Lately, I've been thinking about some of the more significant stories of my growing up.  There are always people speaking different things over us and our lives.  This is another story like the 'Barn Floor' where I got some encouragement.  My uncle was the source on this particular occasion.

My uncle has a farm just next door to my Grandfather's farm.  My dad and I went one day to help chop some wood in the back corner of one of the fields.  After cutting and chopping, we loaded the wood into the trailer and pulled it back to the barn with the tractor.

When we got ready to load the trailer, my uncle told me to climb up in the driver's seat.  I was not very good at backing up a trailer.  This may have even been the first time I had ever tried.  I climbed up and backed up slowly. I turned the wheel the wrong way and the trailer jack-knifed off to the side.  The tongue of the trailer was bound against the hitch and one of the bolts in the tongue snapped.

My uncle walked back to the barn to get another bolt while my dad and I kept cutting, splitting, and stacking.  Uncle returned a short while later with a new bolt and some tools to make the repair.  We replaced the bolt in short order and he told me to climb back up in the driver's seat and try again.  I protested, lest I break another bolt.  He persisted, and I climbed back up for another try.

I first pulled ahead to straighten the trailer and then began backing up slowly remembering that I needed to turn the wheel away from the intended direction of the trailer. I corrected this way, and that way as I went slowly backward craning my neck to keep track of my progress.  It went well for a short time, but almost inevitably, I overcorrected and the trailer shot sideways and jack-knifed.  Snap!

Back to the workshop for another bolt.  We repeated this procedure a total of about 5 times.  The thing that struck me that day was the single bolt that Uncle brought back from the barn each time.  He only ever brought one.  Each time, he believed that I might get it right this time.  Each time he told me to climb back up in the driver's seat.

Each time he showed me that my past failures were not predictors of my potential for success.

May your failures of 2012 be transformed into the successes of 2013.

Note to self: Don't cry 'uncle.'

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