I don’t need a man

For years, I’ve said there are three things I can’t do well. The OBVIOUS is figuring out how to make my way back from the bathroom to my seat in an auditorium. This talent is  excluded from my “working on it” list because there is no “fixing” my total lack of sense of direction. I laid that beast to rest years ago. We can’t do everything well, right? haha

There are a few skills that have caused me on-going frustration because I just can’t seem to master them  … like sharpening a knife/scissors, filing my taxes and lifting heavy things.  Somehow, these seem to be things that men do with ease yet women don’t easily master.

Through the years, I’ve asked many people how to sharpen my kitchen knives. I have bought at least a dozen different tools for sharpening knives/scissors … but never had much success with them. I remember seeking help as early as New Bern, North Carolina, circa 1985-1990. I worked at Branch’s Office Supply & Gifts. We sold Chicago Cutlery so I bought a 10″ sharpening steel. It is a steel rod used for honing a blade before use. I’ve never been able to notice a difference between before and after when using it.

Within the last year, a friend of mine who is truly a jack-of-all-trades introduced me to the many uses of steel files. I bought a needle file set and …. *poof* my life was changed! I keep a file in my kitchen knife drawer. I keep one in my yard tool bucket for sharpening pruning shears and clippers. And I keep one on my art table to sharpen scissors and X-acto blades. I no longer struggle with dull blades. I know how to sharpen most anything!

The tax thing? I have a dear friend who has done my taxes for me since my husband left. I have still struggled just getting all of my paperwork together each year, but I have come up with a system that should work well and involves 12 end-of-month activities rather than an end-of-year, free-for-all meltdown. I think this will be a great improvement!! I no longer feel strife over my taxes.

I’ll never be as strong as an average man … because testosterone. It amazes me that a man who never does push-ups or pull-ups can be dramatically stronger than an average woman who does. While I believe that most women are stronger emotionally/mentally  than men, women (as a general rule) are definitely the weaker physical “vessel.”

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I began this blog post yesterday
and got sidelined by my inability to
find the photographs I wanted to use for my illustration.
I took some photos for this blog post around a year ago … but just couldn’t find them in my iPhoto albums.
So, God provided me with new material.

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The last hurdle that causes me inner turmoil
is needing physical help with projects.
There are some things a woman just can’t do without help.
I’ve called my fascination with a man’s natural strength “bicep envy.”
I am amazed at how men seem to have power without trying
while women have less even if they work at strength building.

Enter Greg Og Edwards. “Og” is a nickname given to Greg by a friend years ago because he’s like a “caveman” in that he has the ability to fix just about anything with only a rock as a hammer. Yes, I know. That’s a slight exaggeration … but only S.L.I.G.H.T.

As he lived beside me in May of last year and I then listened to his stories as he bicycled back across the US to Sacramento, I intently watched him hit snags and use the found-items around him to get him out of jams. At one point after his departure, I found myself asking, “What would Greg do?”

God has been slowly teaching me to be brave. I’ve gone camping alone, repaired a hole in my roof and changed my brake pads and rotors.

And when I have to move something heavy or need a hand, I figure out a way to keep going without help.

Yesterday morning provided a perfect example.

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While I was out running, I passed a home with a pile of things out on the street to be picked up by the trash truck. I walked up to look at the rusty box. And it turned out to be a wood stove! My first thought was to use it outside as a fire pit!! Then I thought how helpful it would be in an outside shed/building so I can work there in the winter. I knew I wanted to try to get it home …. but I knew it would be heavy.

I finished my run and headed back with my trailer.  “Heavy” isn’t a strong enough word to convey this rusty man’s weight. I pulled out the grate, the ash bin and all the heat bricks that were inside it. This beefy box was STILL going to be a bear to lift.

I got the trailer as close to the stove as I could, hoping to just tip it up into the trailer and then slide it in. The short stature of the stove meant that I had to lift it pretty high to work across the fulcrum point on the trailer bed.

I was talking out loud to God, asking Him to show me HOW to do this job without help! In trying to move the stove around a bit, I accidentally let it land on a rock in the rock pile  and …. and there it was!! My Answer!

With the stove tipped, I could slip something underneath it for leverage … but WHAT? I began mentally sorting through the resources in my car.

My car jack could help me lift it!

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With the trailer within a foot or two of the stove, I was able to sit on the trailer bed and use my legs to leg-press the stove forward. I used the jack handle to slide the jack under the back of the stove. I placed it so that the grove in the jack fit on the lip of the stove so that it would have some stability.

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Just in case, I stuck a tire chock under the tire so it wouldn’t move and I slowly lifted the stove, adding bricks as I went to bear the weight should it fall and to raise the fulcrum point. When I got it high enough to be helpful, I moved the trailer back and lifted the stove from the front so that it easily tipped backward into the bed of the trailer.

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In the past, I would have given up much sooner. I would have tried to lift the stove and realized its weight was too much for me … and I would have walked away.

But, because I’ve learned to work smarter, not harder, I’ve learned how use the things around me to help me accomplish jobs that I would have considered impossible to do alone.

So, for the first time in my life …. I have realized that I don’t need a man.
I don’t need a man’s “biceps.”
I don’t need a man to sharpen my knives.
And I don’t need to be in a relationship so taxes can get filed.

You know what else I don’t need a man to do for me?
I have realized that I don’t need a man to travel with me,
repair or build things for me or to finance my life.
I don’t need a man
to affirm my beauty, wisdom, worth or intelligence.
I don’t need a man to protect me, approve of my ideas
or  fill in my empty places.

This marvelous place of not “needing” is beautiful.
Now that I don’t “need” these things,
I feel free to openly want these things.
And I want them in a relationship
because I have a gracious list of wonderful attributes to offer.

I want to accompany a man through the daily walk that is life.
I want to edify with words of encouragement, little gifts and a listening ear.
I want to love on him by cooking for him, serving him dishes I know he’ll love
and cleaning the kitchen beside him.
I want to offer him strong back rubs, gentle kisses and passionate, raucous sex.
I want to explore with a man, share my ideas
and be comfortable sitting in silence beside him.

The wonderful thing is …

I WANT these things …

but I do not NEED them.
What a beautiful place of glorious, gracious freedom!

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