September 15th

Getting a piece of paper towel should be an easy thing, no? Well, not according to one particular paper towel dispenser in the church. When it’s first loaded with a fresh roll, sure, it works perfectly. Pull out as much or as little paper as you want, tear is off, and the dispenser will leave enough fresh paper exposed so the next user can grab it easily.
When the roll is slightly depleted, however, the dispenser gets a little tricksy, as Gollum, the creature from “The Lord Of The Rings” would say. When there is less paper in the dispenser, things change. When you pull on the paper and tear it off, the thing actually pulls the paper back up into the slot, just far enough to leave a tiny bit exposed in the emergency access hole, making it hard for the next person that has to clean up a mess.
At first, I found this very annoying. Grabbing a tiny bit of paper and carefully pushing it through the emergency access hole and back out of the slot was a nuisance. Then, one day, I noticed an interesting thing. I noticed that if I waited before tearing off the fresh sheet, the roll would not pull the paper back. Instead, there would be a clunking sound, and then the paper would stay exactly where it should be.Tricksy problem solved. Pull. Wait for the noise. Tear. The lesson in all of this? Pay attention to how a thing actually works, then work with it accordingly, and it won’t be as tricksy as if first appeared.
Relationships should be easy, things, no? Well, not always. There are some folks that can be tricksy. They can be grumpy, operate at a different speed from you, or just have an outlook that seems incompatible with yours. As a result, they may appear to be annoying or you might find them hard to work with or get along with. Of course, if they seem tricksy to you, you probably appear tricksy to them, too.
When that happens, you have to take time to figure them out. Listen to what they say as much as how they say it. Pay attention to how they act with you and with others. Learn their unique rhythms and ways of doing things. Do so to learn, not to judge. Chances are that if you take the time to figure them out, and they take the time to figure you out, you can find a way to work together that is productive rather than annoying. Who knows. You might even learn to like each other and appreciate your unique tricksy-ness, just as they might learn to appreciate yours.

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