Ephesians 5:33b: And the wife should respect her husband.
Respect is his primary need, his deepest desire.

I Put My Followers First

Monday, July 19, 2010

Silent Synergy

I was listening to a guest speaker in church yesterday.  His topic was "service" and he was able to keep my attention with a polished speaking style.  Much of what he had to convey was, of course, very familiar.   He included the biblical passage from Matthew 25:40, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."   

He was driving home the point that serving one another is actually serving God.   His train of thought and teaching was becoming all too familiar and I was beginning to fade out.  But then he told the story of some men attempting to move a grand piano without equipment. 
Some years ago in our meetinghouse in Darmstadt, Germany, a group of brethren was asked to move a grand piano from the chapel to the adjoining cultural hall, where it was needed for a musical event. None were professional movers, and the task of getting that gravity-friendly instrument through the chapel and into the cultural hall seemed nearly impossible. Everybody knew that this task required not only physical strength but also careful coordination. There were plenty of ideas, but not one could keep the piano balanced correctly. They repositioned the brethren by strength, height, and age over and over again—nothing worked.
As they stood around the piano, uncertain of what to do next, a good friend of mine, Brother Hanno Luschin, spoke up. He said, “Brethren, stand close together and lift where you stand.”
It seemed too simple. Nevertheless, each lifted where he stood, and the piano rose from the ground and moved into the cultural hall as if on its own power. That was the answer to the challenge. They merely needed to stand close together and lift where they stood." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

As my mind created and reviewed an imaginary filming of the event I was suddenly startled by something fresh that the speaker was saying. 

"The synergy of standing shoulder-to-shoulder" . . . .

I missed the remainder of what he said as I scrambled to write down the phrase.  The use of the words "shoulder-to-shoulder" caught me by surprise.   Not only do I create greeting cards with that message in mind, I have been focused on the effect of spending shoulder-to-shoulder time with my husband.  I have been considering that, whether our shoulder-to-shoulder time is spent accomplishing or sitting quietly, the effect is the same.

I had challenged myself to a little experiment the next time the opportunity presented.  As my husband and I were walking through a shopping mall, side-by-side, I was chattering away.  He was becoming increasingly snippy.   I remembered that silence combined with shoulder-to-shoulder time could create a powerful synergy between us.

So I shut up.

It didn’t take long before he asked if everything was okay.  Silence is not a normal state of being for me!  I assured him that I was simply learning to enjoy silence.

He chuckled.

Then he reached over and took my hand.  After a few awkward yards and my silent focus on the journey, I discovered that my husband and I were walking in rhythm that is difficult for us.  

Before we met, my husband had suffered a massive hemorrhagic left-side stroke leaving him with paralysis and weakness in the right side of his body.    This drastically affects the way that he walks.  His right leg is practically dragged and then tossed forward by a thrust of his hip.  It is awkward, strained and stilted.

For the first time since his stroke, for the first time since we married, I was able to fall in line with his awkward gait and he became much less strained in his step.    This was a big deal for me, something I had wanted since he and I had walked together for the first time. 

As the speaker continued, I remembered the day and squeezed my husband's hand a little tighter as he sat beside me in the pew.  Like the men standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the speaker's story, I had also experienced the wondrous effect of silent synergy. 


cfoxes33 said...

That is a nice post. Thank you for that.

Lisa♥H said...

Amazing post Sharon! And I love the example that you gave ;o) What a blessing that you received from the Lord that day! I read this with tears in my eyes, and a gladness in my heart! Thank you!!

Let'sMakeADifference said...

Wow, your post really made me think! thank you for that! Thanks also for stopping by and leaving such a meaningful comment!

Amy Sullivan said...

I LOVED reading about why you blog today. It's such a much needed mission, and it was great getting to know you a little bit more.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

A wonderful post...so glad that I stopped by..

I have a new giveaway on my holiday blog, A Baby Changes Everything, with more copies of IN A HEARTBEAT to give away on TUESDAY. Stop by and enter....Have a great week..

Leticia said...

You have opened my eyes to the realization that my busband and I have not walked shoulder to shoulder in nearly a decade. I'm going to try to make an effort to walk beside him next time we are out! Thank you for posting the message, and visiting my blog <3

Erin Wallace said...

This is a wonderful post and a great reminder - sometimes silence and closeness with the one you love is what is needed. It was heartwarming to hear about you and your husband walking in rhythm.

xo Erin

Mom2three said...

What a great post! Too many times I chatter away about "stuff" and don't stop to listen and be quiet. I loved reading about how walking with your husband shoulder-to-shoulder produced an awesome event. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment about the book "Love and Respect" that I'm reading.

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