Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Expanding the brain

6:18 p.m. Today's project was to replenish the radiator coolant in my Jeep before driving it at 7 a.m. to the O'Reilly's auto parts store on University Street, where I then purchased two additional quarts of transmission fluid to add to our new transmission before an early morning trip to Redlands. My dad hired Steve to trim some palm trees on his driveway, and wanted to beat the heat.

These tasks are nothing I have ever done, because my dad serviced all of our cars as I grew up, later on, boyfriends helped out, and in 1981, I married Steve, an expert mechanic for every make of car we owned. Only this year did I have to hire a young man to replace our brake pads because Steve can no longer figure out the tasks he excelled in from boyhood. He doesn't even hang out by the car observing and chatting--it's as if he cannot remember what would be of interest to him normally. And that's okay, because those whom come over to help us understand his situation and don't need assistance anyway.

That left me to attempt to grasp car mechanic's lingo in a laywoman's brain that heretofore had never developed the spatial intelligence/mechanical sections. (But give me a writing assignment, a word puzzle or a "big-picture" organizational project, and I'm all over it)! Since you can't contract with a technician without discussion and details explained, you have to listen and ask questions, FOCUS, look up vehicle maintenance records, FOCUS, and grasp the problem as best you can. I put the main problem in caps because I am always the one looking for the completed vision and end result!

Life on the ground rarely works that way, as my late mother constantly chided, "Dana, your head's in the clouds! Daydreaming again!" Becoming a mother of five did bring me down to earth quite remarkably, but details just aren't my passion. Thank the Lord for people whose passion is details, because they are the ones we rely on to beautify our lives, like my sewing and artistic friends, as well as keep us safe on the road, like our mechanic! The variety of personalities and talents among people is God's idea. Romans 12:4-8 lays out the gifts God gives to believers:

For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individual members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Giving some thought to the extent that I was out of my depth with automotive matters, I happened upon a brain-training course called Lumosity on a website for 50+ folks who want to enjoy maximum physical and mental health. The course asks you for the areas of intelligence that you believe are lacking and offers computer exercises to help create the growth in brain connections--"synapses"--that research shows grow with added learning. So I selected spatial intelligence, calculation and reaction time. The games were fun, and I had Steve sit with me for one of them on reaction speed. I just need to make a habit of spending a few minutes a day with the exercises.

Today I realized that the trials we've come through in the last two years with Steve's advancing Alzheimer's have forced me to learn new skills, or be able to explain the steps in skills he needs to complete tasks. In response to the need of the moment, God has given me new mechanical skills and practical ones as well. My mother would be amused to see me in action these days!

My trust in the Lord has grown hugely with the direction our lives has taken, because as Jesus assured us in Matthew 6:8,

Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

Amen to that! I would never have voluntarily learned to put fluids into a radiator or a transmission, or run the sprinkler system, or smoke-bomb gophers, or glue back the front door's frame until it could be repaired correctly.

But He who knew what every day of my life would entail before the foundations of the earth, knew the skills I would need to develop today. Praise Him!!

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