It is my mother’s pen knife (pictured above) that I hold most dear among the items I selected when my family members and I were disposing of her belongings. Because she used it every day: to open mail and adult-proof bottles, to cut out a coupon from the paper, to move a reluctant button through its hole. Her hands touched it. This pen knife made her life manageable in the small ways that nourished and her independence. It lived on her kitchen counter, within easy reach – perhaps dating to her eighties or her nineties, when her twisted, arthritic fingers were not up to the job. I found it where she left it when she for the hospital with a broken ankle.
Mom raised me to make myself useful, although my ideas about that, and my actions have changed over the years: change the diaper, change the oil, change my viewpoint, change my pig-headed idea. Change how I look. Change how things look. Change how things are. Change the world in small and large ways.
These days, here’s how I make myself useful: I choose my words, my tone, my intention deliberately. Sharpened to the needs of the moment. To open a heart, soothe a vulnerability, set a boundary, fix responsibility, validate a feeling, challenge a lie. To seal a bond or break a connection.
God spoke the universes into existence. I choose my words to keep them spinning for the common good.
How do you make yourself useful for the common good?