To and fro stepping has many applications. In Chicago, I paid attention as I walked to work, moving over for approaching three-abreast talking workers, a biker threading his way among pedestrians, a wheelchair being pushed or a yucky glob on the sidewalk to be stepped over or around. Making alternate and often difficult decisions, going to plan B, C or possibly D requires focused inner energy.
The original idea sprang from an awareness of the importance, apparent wisdom needed, and results of those who: purposely step aside--or need to consider--from responsibilities that they enjoy or have done for maybe too many years; involuntarily are forced to make changes due to policies, job endings, business closures, health issues, or aging.
Then, by happenstance, coming across the definition of to and fro, my mind was kicked into high-writing gear: 1553 first known use --Activity involving alternating movement in opposite directions: forward and backward: from one place to another matching my intention, but also closely resembling participation in a Zumba-dancing exercise class. Hang with me Intuitive Thinkers.
In developing this subject, it became humorously natural to compare lifestyle changes to Zumba calls because the entire room of exercisers learns the routine of stepping two steps left; stepping two steps back—up two, back two, around and a hop, skip or jump to music, following the director’s calls, being aware of students in front, in back and on either side and helping someone learn the steps. Sometimes, someone falls down and needs a helping hand. Sometimes, it’s you who stumbles.
Application to employment: long-time employees welcoming, making room and assisting new employees adjusting to changes, layoffs or other reasons like in my case: Having thankfully landed a full-time personal secretary position with an insurance company, and excited that Bill Bilderspock, my boss, was pleased with how quickly I learned the routine and responsibilities and our working relationship thrived. Having my own office was a plus but an adequate salary was a tremendous relief for our financial support while Jim was a full-time Baylor student. Life was good, until I was called into the general manager’s office with a closed door.
“I understand that you are pregnant”, Mary said. “Yes, I’m six months.” “We’ve enjoyed having you as an employee, and you have been very cooperative and done a great job. Mr. Bilderspock speaks highly of you. But perhaps you don’t know that company policy does not permit pregnancies,” she said. “We have arranged to allow you to join the policy typists in the basement and work until the end of February. We wish you the best”, and she gave me a hug. I had many good conversations with her during my employment. She knew I was a Christian and that my husband was preparing for the ministry. I knew it was difficult for her to dismiss me.
I had no knowledge about their no-pregnancy policy (1955). I hadn’t kept my pregnancy secret and was still wearing normal clothing and had not missed a day in the five-month tenure. Jim and I were rather naïve about family planning and were surprised as well. I was not angry and didn’t question the discrimination, but I was disappointed about losing my job working with Bill. Mostly, I was concerned about our financial situation. The office gave us a very generous baby shower which provided many items that we would need, including a portable crib that was used for all four of our children and which I still have.
Stepping down from that job inspired me to do some fancy Zumba-like leaps and dream up ways to contribute financially. After a few months of motherhood, I began to type term papers for college students, articles for a writer, and took in washing and ironing for single college guys which brought in a little income. Jim found a part-time job selling Wear Ever cookware. He was obliged to quickly learn routines about finding contacts, learning facts about food preparation, and how to close a sale. The benefits were marvelous. The pay was good, if he made a sale, but costly if the food he purchased for demonstrations was not followed by a sale. Jim did well, but longed to be a pastor, what God had called him to do, but finding a student pastorate wasn’t easy. When Kay was three months old, he was called to a country church in a farming community near Waco. They couldn’t pay much but they gave us produce, eggs and material remnants that were enough for kids’ clothes. I still have contact with one of the young people from that church. That congregation loved us and taught Jim how to be a pastor and me how to be a pastor’s wife and counselor. A rich experience which superseded my office job big time. He kept his studies at Baylor going, but part-time.
Another application of mental-decision-stepping-aside involves a voluntary decision to give an opportunity to a person who wants to do what you might be doing, which reminds me of a sermon Jim preached along this line. Our church in York was growing with local people but also from southern business men and women who were being transferred to the Northeast. Many of these people from the South were well-trained in teaching, music, children’s work, church finances and committee involvement. Jim realized that the people who were already trained had accepted several church jobs as they arose because of the need. However, some of them were not willing to step aside and allow the local new members lacking church background to be voted in as teachers/leaders/committee members. Jim’s sermon addressed this possessiveness of responsibility and asked the current leaders to limit their involvement to no more than two jobs to make room for the new people. His sermon was taken seriously and the increased dancing crowd skipped along together.
Applying the word—aging—to changing routines, reminds me of years ago when my mom and her sister, Hazel, who had co-taught little children for years wanted to be relieved of this particular church responsibility, but not until they took a Zumba-like resignation dip were they finally replaced.
Step-up when a new need in your various circles of involvement arises. Often a new responsibility that is accepted out of need becomes a favorite endeavor as our ingenuity is expanded. And at times the new taking-on develops our capabilities in ways we would never have dreamed.
I’ll pose the question I ask myself: Is there some moving over, making room to give someone else an opportunity to serve/experience a purpose which you need to consider? New responsibilities unfold with innovation and abilities that smooth out life and make it interesting, like learning Zumba routines so well we confidently and joyfully glide to and fro.
We help someone up, or show a new dancer how to do the new steps. And as aging kicks in or we develop a physical drawback we learn to modify. Do as much as you can as long as you can. Be flexible with your mind and body. Nourish your body with good food, plenty of water and adequate sleep. Enjoy the dance.
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances… Phil 4:11 (NIV). Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart. Matt. 11:29 (NIV).
Father, no matter what adjustments and changes have to be made, knowing that you are present gives confidence in adjustments as well as regarding the outcome.