Worn Out

image.pngThe sun wasn’t up.  I parked in the Village parking lot where Martins, Ukrop’s, and the A&P use to sell groceries.

Leaving from the corner of Three Chopt and Patterson, I was headed for a run. My course is simple— straight down Patterson to Westmoreland, turn around and come back. It is a five mile run.

I like this course because of the street lights. I can see where I’m going. I’m not carrying a flashlight for guidance.

In June, I’ll turn 65. As long as I have my health, and my current employer likes my work, I don’t plan to retire. I think if I sat still for a week, I’d probably croak.

But from time to time, I do think about wearing out. I’m sure at some point, a part of my body will wear out, or I’ll do something reckless that might cause me to wear out.

This morning as I was running, I caught a glimpse of a worn out fence board. I looked to my left and I saw in a yard one end of a white fence board hit the ground. I guess a nail or nails holding that piece gave up and collapsed. Maybe exposure to the elements over time had worn out the nails causing them to fail.

Human beings can wear out for many different reasons. Could be old age, an accident, a serious illness, or just the regular wear and tear of life.

Somewhere in that wear and tear is stress. Stress can create mental and physical fatigue. That stress left unchecked can really wear a person down.

My 31 years of work in public education eventually wore me down. Stress was part of that departure.

There are days in my current job when I ask myself how much more can I handle?

This is especially true when winter storms arrive. Despite efforts to keep pipes snug and warm, sometimes pipes decide to freeze up. When frozen pipes burst, I quickly learn that free flowing; uncontrolled water has a mind of its own!

All organizations have a person, a woman or a man, that is the “go to person.”

These individuals no matter how overwhelming the obstacles might be—they are able to get a job done. No matter how much the odds are stacked against them, they get the job done. Even when there is no hope, somehow, someway, these people come through.

And no matter how reliable, dependable, resourceful, creative, cool, calm, and collected these “go to people” appear— at some point—they are going to wear out.

When they wear out the organization has a critical hole to fill. Immediately, human resources is in a mad scramble to find a new “go to person.”

This is a challenging task.

Someone in human resources jokes, “we should have cloned our “go to person.”

Who knows the way technology is advancing; in the future a “go to person” might be a robot.

I hope that doesn’t happen.

In my daily reading of the Bible, sometimes I stumble upon a bit of wisdom that makes me stop and think. This verse from 1 Corinthians 10:13 caused me to pause. Maybe it was written for that “go to person” in your organization:

“No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”

Perhaps, your thinking is like my thinking. There have been plenty of times in my life when I thought God was testing me beyond my capacity.

Yet, in hindsight, no matter how much I was challenged by my testing, God was at work with me. I endured.

Like that old collapsed fence board, sooner or later I will wear out.

When that happens, I hope I’m still aligned with a “real go to person”— God.

For I am certain, God’s endurance has never deserted me.


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