A Part of the Mechanism
By John W. Vander Velden
I have always been fascinated by how things work. The way individual pieces move in coordination with one another. It came in handy all the years I farmed. An example: I operated a machine called an “automatic bale wagon”. A machine that picked bales off the ground and arranged and stacked 103 on its bed and then placed that stack in the barn—for the most part by itself. At first glance it appeared a very complex device of hydraulics, chains, and many trip mechanisms. But it became important that I understood the purpose for each part of the mechanism.
For when it worked it worked wonderfully, but when it didn’t it was up to me to figure out which particular piece needed repair or adjustment. I handled more than a hundred thousand of bales with that red machine and learned a great deal along the way.
Recent events have led me to thinkin’. A dangerous use of time perhaps. But I have wondered about my place in things. My part in the mechanism of the world I share with you. I wonder if I, like those hoses and levers of my bale wagon, am humming along doing what I should as I should, or if I am that suborn valve that would fail at the most inopportune moment. Am I in need of an adjustment—today.
I know I am not the one that determines such things, for I am not the one operating the mechanism—just a piece of the machine that is bouncing along the universe. God is in charge of this machine that you and I share. But when I think of all the things I have over the years repaired, the gears and bearing, belts and motors, plumbing and electrical, I imagine myself among them in a grander wider mechanism. When I think about the things I do, and the things I avoid doing, I wonder if I am a useful part of the machine or just taking up space.
Something happened yesterday that brought these thoughts to the front of my mind. An action I took that I may not have been prepared to deal with, but I injected myself into the situation because I could not just walk passed and ignore it. Some might have seen my action as intrusive. Others as noble. But I see it as neither, I did what I did because it was who I am.
In the end I may not have been any help at all, but I tried and sometimes trying is enough.
You see I’m just part of the mechanism.
(435 Words) 12/7/2018