The Easy Stuff

Always look for the easy stuff first, son.

Mr. Sims was under the hood of his wife’s car, a wide grin on his face.  To this day, I have no idea what was wrong with my neighbor’s car, but he was pleased with the result of the few moments he had spent on his task.

There might have been a little chagrin in his manner, too.

Evidently, the problem had plagued the car for quite awhile.  Other repairs had been attempted, but that day he had finally found the solution.

It was so simple.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before!

Mr. Sims was a mechanic.  A good one.  

He was unhappy that his attempts to repair the car had gone amiss for so long, as he anticipated the worst.  The repair was, contrary to his expectations, basic and inexpensive.

batteries-364217_640Why do we miss the easy stuff?

The young man set the electric guitar, case and all, down on my counter with a sigh.  Disgust was written on his face.  It would soon be written on mine, as well.

I’m sorry, but it won’t work at all.  Everything was great at the rehearsal, but when we tried it at the gig, it just made fuzzy noises and then died completely.

My heart sank.  I sold him the guitar just last week.  It’s a very nice instrument.  I didn’t want to have to refund his money.  I would if I had to, but I didn’t want to.

Plugging the instrument in to an amplifier, I strummed a chord.  It sounded great.  For just a moment—it sounded great.

Then, the pretty tones started to sound fuzzy and distorted.  The clarity disappeared and left in its place nothing but jangly discord.

I was going to give him back his money, wasn’t I?

As I squatted there in front of the amplifier, guitar perched on my knee, my mind darted this way and that.  

What could be wrong?  Circuit board?  Pickup coil?  A new Sustainer pickup and circuit would cost more than two hundred dollars.  

What was I going to do?

I’m not saying I actually heard it then, but I can certainly hear his voice in my head as I write tonight.  Mr. Sims was a genius.  A genius in dirty coveralls.

Always look for the easy stuff first, son.

My mind switched gears.  Easy stuff—easy stuff. . .

Dead battery!  The pre-amp battery must be dead.  I opened the little compartment and, pulling the battery out, checked it with my tongue.  Well?  It was quicker than finding a multi-tester.  Besides, I was in no danger of being shocked—this time.

The battery was completely drained.  Dead as the proverbial door nail.

Easy stuff.

Why do we assume the worst?

Our culture—and I’m referring to the culture of the day, as well as our spiritual culture—has somehow convinced us to look for the hard answers.  We dig deep to answer the question that consumes us:  Why?

The men who trailed after the Teacher saw a man alongside the road who had been born blind.  They had deep questions.  They wanted to know why.  (John 9:1-7)

The Teacher wanted them to understand how.

There was no need to dig into the past.  There was no need to determine guilt.

The man’s only need was for light.  And sight.

Simple things.

That day, the blind man walked away seeing a world he had never before gazed upon.

The cynicism and pessimism in our culture, even within our circle of believers, is overwhelming.

Don’t hang around with him.  He’s got a filthy mouth.  

Don’t you know what she’s done?

I don’t see how you can stand him!

And again, we come to it.  The religious men gathered around the Teacher, wanting to hear how complicated it would be for them to please God.  

They were sure it would be a long discussion. It wasn’t.

Always look for the easy stuff first, son.

Okay.  That’s not exactly what He said.  But, it was just as simple, just as naive, in their opinion.

Love God.  Love each other.  (Matthew 22:36-40)

Maybe it’s simple and naive in our opinion, too.

We’re still arguing the deep questions today.  And all the while, folks around us are stumbling around in the dark.  Blind!

It’s time to get under the hood and get this jalopy going, isn’t it?

Mr. Sims knew how to make it run.

Always look for the easy stuff first, son.

It’s time to put in some new batteries.

Easy stuff.



When the solution is simple, God is answering.
(Albert Einstein ~ German-American theoretical physicist ~ 1879-1955)


He has told you, O man, what is good,
and what the Lord really wants from you:
He wants you to promote justice, to be faithful,
and to live obediently before your God.
(Micah 6:8 ~ NET)

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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