Early Thanksgiving morning, I was reading, admiring the pinkness of the early sky, watching the songbirds racing between two feeders, when a piercing sound from the kitchen caused me to almost jump out of my skin. “Hmmm, wonder what in the world fell”, I said to myself, as I headed there expecting to face a huge mess. Nothing suspicious was found until I looked out of the window above the sink. The window was cracked all over, yet without shattering, held in place by the outer thermal pane. Jim would know what to do. This qualified for Jim’s almost inaudible chuckle and his, “How ‘bout that!”
Neighbor Mark responded to my text: Are you up? I’d like you to look at what just happened, by coming right over. “Wow! did a bird hit the window?” he queried. “Not to my knowledge.” We went outside to search for an injured or dead bird but saw none.” It could have just kept flying”, I offered. “Amazing that the outside pane is uncracked,” Mark mused.
I emailed my local son-in-law and a grandson who’d previously advised me regarding other household decisions, and asked what they’d recommend. Check to see if there’s an emblem in the corner of the window which would indicate what kind of window it is.
I found the emblem with tiny letters and numbers and emailed them to my two advisors. Very good news, they both emailed back. The AW is an Andersen window, a top-of-the-line thermal window. The whole window frame will have to be replaced; maybe a couple thousand dollars. Hopefully, it’s still under warranty, and Andersen’s number was included where I would order a replacement, and instructions to measure the window before I called. Since it was Thanksgiving and a holiday, I’d have to wait until Friday to make the calls.
As I inspected the window more closely, I was intrigued by the variety of cracks: big, little, long, sharp, straight, crooked, some flat and smooth providing a clear view, but most were unsightly jagged and zigzag cracks, that under the least pressure, would shatter. My always-on-call counseling temperament automatically drew a parallel to the various cracks in life which cause annoying immense hurt, dysfunction and sadness. Then I noticed a deeper crack along the side, large enough to put my little finger through and feel the frigid air resembling painful separations in life and the coolness from relationship tensions. Just like life, deeper hurts, the cracks in this window resemble life--a kaleidoscope of hurts, I’ll write a blog inspired by my cracked window. The title could be cracked.
When Mac’s Friday morning call came, I shared the window-tale and that I had already begun writing a blog using the cracked window to illustrate dealing with life’s unexpected and serious problems. He laughed and quipped, “It cracks me up could be the title.”
Research: The idiom “to crack someone up" originates from the 17th century, when men and women wore thick, white make-up to hide pox marks and make their skin look pale. (NB: Pale skin suggested wealth as it contrasted with the tanned complexions of those required to work outside in the fields.) When someone wearing such make-up laughed, their make-up would crack around the laughter lines.
The term "to crack someone up" comes from Ireland. More specifically, it comes from the Gaelic word craic, which relates to fun and is pronounced "crack."
· During the comedy show, the comedian's hilarious performance had the entire audience cracking up.
· He has a great sense of humor, and his funny stories never fail to crack us up.
· The funny video on social media had thousands of viewers cracking up with laughter.
· She has a knack for telling jokes that crack people up and create a lighthearted atmosphere.
Cracks appearing in your sidewalk, wall, windows, etc. gets one’s attention. Take care of it as soon as you can, or it may get worse. If you can’t fix it, find someone who possesses the expertise needed.
After visiting with Mac, I dialed the Andersen number given to me the day before. The rep was questioning the window measurements that I had given and asked me if I could measure the window again. Just then, Kay came in to check on me. “Someone just walked in who can remeasure the window,” I gladly told the rep. And her measurements made more sense to him. The window was indeed still under warranty. I could hardly wait to tell my guys. I ordered the window. The rep said he could arrange to have their service installer come or if I knew someone who could install the Andersen window cheaper, go with him. I really appreciated his thoughtfulness of my expenses. He treated me like I was his mother. (An aside. I expressed my appreciation for that information and that I would write a commendation letter for his file. So, he gave me his first name and where to send it and was unmistakably grateful. I add this to reiterate a blog many months ago regarding speaking with reps. Everyone is not kind to them. Every chance you get to commend them, do so. A rep from our pharmacy called and I asked “How are you today?”. And I was surprised when he said, “No one has ever said that to me. This is a lonely job.” I was astounded. How easy it is to encourage a stranger.)
A couple days later, I was out on the deck and noticed a dead bird on a covered deck box about 3 feet from the window. From my photo, an expert bird friend identified it: White-throated Sparrow. It breeds in north North America and travels to southern states for the winter. They travel 28 mph.
My contractor verified that a medium sized White-throated Sparrow slamming into a window at 28 mph could certainly have caused it to crack. The new window was replaced on Thursday, a week after it was cracked.
In the meantime, I resumed writing the blog.
Everyone, young and old, function through all kinds of cracks during their lives. The thin lines of crack could be loneliness which has crept in or disappointment from lack of appreciation from fulfilling an expectation, neglect, tense relationships, separations, failures in school, loss jobs, jobs that don’t satisfy, etc. Even an over-crowded schedule can create emotional and physical pressure. But that sharp crack, may be from a bitter attitude or deep resentment for an unmet expectation, a feeling of disrespect, lack of trust, lies told or difficulty getting along with a friend. Dealing with these situations as soon as they become apparent is the wisest approach. They do not disappear or heal on their own.
Confiding in a therapist, minister, priest, rabbi or trusted friend is the best gift to yourself. Going into a relationship with unsolved problems will not solve the original problems, even though many assume that’s the easiest solution, but that baggage will thwart the new relationship.
We may not have hurtful cracks of our own to heal, but sensing that people we know well have or are experiencing a problem with relationships, financial concerns, car difficulties or appear to be upset or especially challenged about something. During Covid people became very sensitive to the needs of others. Maintaining that tender-awareness is a great forever goal for all of us.
Nurturing our spiritual needs regularly, reading scripture, praying, meditating, committing our day to the Lord will lessen our focus on placing an attitude squarely on our responsibility asking God help and direction is wisdom from God at work.
Personally, the best source for direction, encouragement and comfort throughout my life from age 16 to the present in handling the unexpected ‘cracks of life’ has been relying on scripture like the following:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Prov. 3:5,6 (NIV).
I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Ps.16:8 (NIV).
The Lord … gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isa. 40:29 (NIV).
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isa. 46:4 (NIV).
Live in harmony with one another…If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Rom. 12:16,18. (NIV).
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Rom 15:13 (NIV).
Have you discovered that adjusting to life’s unavoidable cracks has actually strengthened your character? Click on: https://ruthmcrobertsward.com/it-cracks-me-up/ and view Kurt’ Scene.