“What we hope ever to do with ease, we may learn first to do with diligence.” Samuel Johnson, Pope, (Lives of the Poets)
Somehow I think I should be able to do everything perfectly–the first time. If not the first time, then the second. If not the second time, well then, definitely the third. If I still don’t get it, there must be something wrong with me, right?
I have the above quote on my computer. Almost every day I read it and the message I get is this: I need to be patient with myself, give myself grace and space to get used to doing new things. I am not mechanically inclined; I get confused easily when working with even the simplest tools to do the simplest chores. Anyone unfortunate enough to be working with me needs a lot of patience.
Samuel Johnson’s words now serve as a guide and learning plan for me.
For example, one day I nearly freaked out because the inside hood release of the car wouldn’t open. All I wanted to do was check the windshield washer fluid, and I couldn’t even get the inside hood release to pop! Believe it or not, I walked up to the neighbor’s place to ask him for help. Then I decided to try the hood release again–and it popped. I hadn’t been pulling it hard enough. I walked back up to the neighbor’s to tell him. Then I had trouble finding the release lever under the hood. I ran my fingers over the metal and finally found the lever. I pulled it and raised the hood. For awhile I didn’t want to check the fluid again, for fear of getting the hood unlocked inside and not being able to unlock it on the outside. I decided I wanted to have confidence in raising the hood of the car, at least, so one day I practiced pulling the inside and outside hood releases. I opened the inside release, went out, found the outside release, opened the hood, slammed the hood shut, and did the process again, over and over. I’ve won that battle.
Another case in point is using the heavy-duty stapler. This is used to staple plastic up on walls, etc. For some reason I got confused on how to open the stapler to put more staples in. Even though there’s only one way to open it I got confused. The other day I spent about an hour outside stapling plastic for insulation around drains and on windows. I needed to refresh the staple supply about three times. I can finally handle that little chore–I think.
I have a list of things I want to feel more at ease in doing. For me the secret is, as Samuel Johnson said, diligence.