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Power Source
by Katherine Hussmann Klemp
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I finally got to a project this morning that I have been meaning to do for some time now. My paper shredder was jammed. It was a birthday gift from my children, and while some might think it an odd gift to give your mother, my children know me well.
As a writer I am attracted to anything that has to do with paper. I love the beginning of school season. My children are grown and most of them have children of their own, so while I am mildly interested in the beginning of the school year, it does not have much impact on my life. No, I just love all the paper supplies that appear prominently in the stores at that time of the year. A tablet: new, blank paged, represents for me all the promise of a wonderful story or poem; a good look at reality or an escape from anything remotely true. There is no telling what will end up on that paper. The promise of a clean slate on which to begin is intoxicating.

And so: a birthday paper shredder. The clean slate image again I suppose. With a simple push of the button all mistakes disappear into a black basket; out of sight, out of mind. The slate is once again empty and full of promise. (The delete button on my computer does not give the same satisfaction for some reason. Perhaps it happens too quickly and without the physical pleasure of watching the cutters completely dismantle the displeasing text.)

I am mechanical in some ways. It’s a good thing, too, because my husband is not. One time, as he was getting ready to take the car in to have the oil changed, I suggested that it might be a whole lot cheaper if he would do it himself.

“You’re not stupid.” I said. “And, in fact, if you wanted to, you could even make your living as a mechanic.”

“And you could make yours as a cook,” was his ready reply. Touché.

Anyway, I figured I could fix my shredder if I tried. People fix these things and I am a person. I had already tried to get the jam out numerous times with a variety of objects and no success. Still, what if the offending wad that jammed my machine were wet? Would I be able to move a soggy mass as opposed to a dry one?

The first step was to unplug the machine. As I removed the screws that secured the shredding apparatus together I was careful not to cut my self on the jagged blades. Have you ever opened up one of those things? Frightening. To make a long story a little shorter I did manage to outwit the jam. By dripping water on the clog, and using a screwdriver, an eyebrow tweezers and my Pampered Chef scissors (don’t ask) I got the obstruction out.

The machine is reassembled. I am waiting for it to dry out before I plug it back in, but something occurred to me during the procedure. Jesus told His followers often that prayer is the key to the Father’s blessings. Prayer has been compared to electricity. When something that is powered by electricity is not plugged in it doesn’t work. In the same way a person or church that is not “plugged in” to prayer will not work either.

The thing that struck me this morning is that if my shredder had been plugged in to the outlet, I would not have fixed my shredder (Hopefully....I still haven’t tried it.) The thing is, I would not even have tried to fix it. I’m not stupid. I don’t mess with that kind of power.

Satan is more daring. Jesus tells us that the devil is always skulking around looking for a person or church to devour, and if you want to protected from these attacks, be a person or church of prayer. I assure you, if you are tapping into God’s power with a steady stream of prayer the devil isn’t going to devour you.

Watch and pray. And become one of the people or one of the places where Satan cannot win. I glanced often at that cord to assure myself the power was truly off as I worked amidst those wicked blades, and the devil, your enemy, is going to check back frequently to see if you are still “plugged in.”

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 17

P.S. I just tried the shredder. It does work, but so far only in reverse. (What’s the deal on that?)

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Member Comments
Member Date
Don Beers 23 Dec 2006
'Tis blasphemous, yes, that's what it is! If my wife ever read this, one can weep while imagining the technological chaos in our otherwise quiet home. Our dryer malfunctioned, rather than bother me (her words), she dismantled the poor thing. Brevity begs that I only tell you now that the clotheline is still functioning. Perhaps this would be better on the Theology boards, but it is in your article and well intentioned at that. No one prayed more than Jesus and we know the telling of his many encounters with the devil. I would likely add the "balance" (oh how I loathe that word) to this writing. Another facet to the gem of the reality of life for those that do pray. A good read, good flow, personable and gentle. I liked it, with only this noted exception. Off to the message boards I go. (I went and opened my doggone big mouth and now I best make good on it.)


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