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  • Pete Ryder

I Can Do It Myself!

Awhile back, where we used to live, we had some issues with our garage door. It seemed to be a little crooked and several times it wouldn’t go down and stay down… It had acted up before and I’d been able to adjust it, so I figured I could do it again. So one day, while Rebecca and the kids were at work and school, I went out to show that door who was boss.


I started banging things around but soon realized that the problem was a little more complicated than I thought. There were bent pieces of metal and some of the wheels were out of the tracks… In order to get the pieces straightened out, it appeared that I needed to undo a couple of bolts, and I loosened them, with a big bang an entire metal plate I was working on shot out of my hand. At first I had no idea where it was, it was just gone! But I soon found it, tightly wedged up in the track… I had just removed the connector that held the cable that lifted the door on that side. It had shot up inches from my face and could have caused a call to 911, but it didn’t…so I was not to be deterred!


Now that I knew where the cable had attached on that side, I figured I knew what to do. So, with my huge knowledge and expertise of garage door repair, I set about to shore up the cable on the other side. I banged and twisted and prodded and soon discovered I couldn’t do much without loosening the tension of that cable. I carefully loosened those bolts, releasing the door from what I soon discovered to be the thing that makes all the difference in opening and closing garage doors…the large iron spring that spans the opening of the garage. In releasing both sides from that spring, the whole garage door came down, rather quickly, with me on the inside!


At this point you probably need to know that there was no side door on that garage. The only way in or out was through the double-wide car door, and it had just come down, trapping me in our 75 year-old garage. I discovered very quickly just how heavy those doors are without the spring attached… I couldn’t get out. My wife was working, my young kids were in school (and certainly shouldn’t see their father like that…), and I didn’t have my phone on me anyway! And besides, even if they were right there, what could any of them have done?


When I calmly began inspecting the windows to see how easily they would open, I discovered that someone years earlier had done a great job nailing the windows in place. After contemplating throwing something through a window, I began tugging on the door again and was able to pry it up a couple inches… I then gathered items from the garage of varying heights that might be able to hold the weight of the door. I picked up the door a couple inches, and slid a board underneath. Then I picked it up a bit more, and slid a can under it. In that way, I was finally able to get it high enough to prop the door on a couple of 5 gallon buckets, and then roll out!


But what to do? I had no way of getting back into the garage without rolling back in. I couldn’t get the car in or out… In retrospect, this might have been a good time to call a “garage door guy,” but it never even entered my mind. I could do this myself!


I rolled in & out several times trying to come up with solutions. Finally, after everything I did made things incrementally worse, I began taking the door apart in sections. It was only after the door was in three sections propped neatly on 1 side of the garage that I figured maybe I needed to call someone.


In the course of my ordeal I looked at that industrial-sized spring. There’s a sign underneath it that reads, “Do not attempt adjustment without proper knowledge and proper tools. Keep hands, arms, and body away at all times.”


Now obviously I had no “proper knowledge” or the “proper tools.” I didn’t have the money for a “garage door guy,” and frankly, I wanted the satisfaction of fixing the problem myself. Unfortunately, all that led to was to make things worse and coming very close to injuring myself!


I laugh as I think back on that ordeal in my old garage, and I shake my head, but it just doesn’t make sense to try and live life without help…and yet we do it all the time. Especially in our relationship with God, we need others around us for support, encouragement, insight, and wise counsel.


Galatians 6:2 comes to mind… “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ.”


Whose burdens are you helping to carry? And who are you allowing into your life (or your garage) to help you carry yours?

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