"Vicky, has your copter hit three minutes yet? Can you give me some design advice?" asked the caller. This was a surprise. This person is nationally known in the hobby shop world. I won't identify him further, but he is probably the last person I would have expected to call for advice from me, a homeschool mom with ZERO model building experience until last year and the science aptitude to match.
"Well it hasn't hit three minutes yet. We hope it might. We do have some ideas."
"Are you willing to share them?"
This kind man had spent hours on the phone talking with me earlier in the month over our Science Olympiad helicopter questions. I had thoroughly picked his brain, so well in fact that our helicopter had flown longer than any he was working on with his own Science Olympiad team. He is in a different state, and since there is no national helicopter event, even if our team by some miracle moves on to nationals, we would not compete against him.
"Sure," I said, and I told him what we had discovered and what we hoped to do.
I spoke in simple laymen terms about what we were doing. This is because I can never remember the technical terms, though at one point, I did teach all that to the kids. He agreed with the changes I thought needed to be made, and then he told me what his kids were doing under his tutelage. He, unlike me, used the technical terms.
"Wait.... that sounds interesting. Can you describe that in a way I can understand?" I asked.
Probably not, he thought, and then he likely wondered anew how this neanderthal had managed to coach anything higher on the evolutionary chart than a termite.
But he took a deep breath and described how the kids designed the rotor blades to "wash out".
"Oh, we did that, kind of by accident," I said.
"Well I'm on my way to coach them now," he said, "Please update me on what happens after your testing next week."
I got off the phone with a chuckle. So I am the helicopter guru now? I am as close to being an expert on helicopter construction as a community organizer is to being president. Oh wait...no, even less than that.
And what makes me the expert is that I have the good luck to have two very smart kids on my team who respond well to bribes. I didn't give him the only real advice that is leading us to 3 minute duration helicopter flights- ice cream.
Later, I was on the phone with my brother. We were discussing my plans for the methane pipe community art contest, and began reminiscing about an investigative reporting stint I had conducted on his behalf many years ago. I won't go into detail, because I always had in the back of my mind to turn it into a book. It is a great story. However, I had written the report after weeks of research over 7 years ago. And then I sent the report to my brother, who seems to have lost it in one computer crash or another. I also seemed to have lost my extensive notes, and a CD filled with photos.
"You really should recreate it," said John, "It is a story that needs to be told."
So I got off the phone, again chuckling about the basis for that report. It was a highly technical engineering wonder that I had known nothing about. I had interviewed experts in the field, and written down their responses word for word because in reality, it was like speaking to a man from Mars. I had no idea half the time what they were talking about. But I continued to read and research and became probably one of the few people on earth who knew so much about this particular engineering wonder. The fact that I might have been one of the few people on earth who cared did not deter me. I wrote that article and even gave a copy to the expert. He told me it was one of the best things he had ever read on the subject.
But now, the article was lost. Still smiling at the ironies of life, how this bumbling know-nothing was faking out the experts, I went to my file cabinet. I had looked for that file on the article many times over the years and had had to conclude I had thrown it away in some cleaning purge. But I opened the file cabinet...and there it was. Clearly labeled. All the notes, interview, names, and the cd of photos. The article itself wasn't there, but I think I could write it much better today anyway. I emailed John to tell him, "This is very weird. I just found the file... I guess God wants me to write the book."
"It is divine intervention," he wrote, "Write the book. It needs to be written. I will help you." John is an engineer and does know what he is talking about.
And I guess God wants me to fly helicopters and maybe even other things that seem impossible with my meager resources and skills. This is a funny strange thing about my walk with God. It seems He almost never asks me to do things that I am qualified for. I am forever being led to attempt things that I really would and should not choose to do unless I felt His divine nudge. And the more I think about it, the more I see Him operate that way in the Bible as well. He made a simple shepherd the father of many nations, He made a lowly Jewish exile the Queen of Persia, He made a simple teenage girl the mother of the Messiah....He never seems to look at what we bring to the plate...all He asks is that we step up to it. Then He sometimes pitches life right in the sweet spot, so we have no choice but to smack a homerun. Not always, and never predictably, but sometimes, and that is what keeps us in the game.
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
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