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Stuck to My Gloves

?Kituku, you will need to remove your gloves so that you can take notes in class,? said Prof. Skinner two weeks after I started a watershed course at the University of Wyoming.

I had never worn gloves until I came to the University of Wyoming in 1986. Unfortunately, I arrived in early February in my tropical outfit. I met a man named Mr. Tynan on the plane from Denver to Laramie. He called the University from the airport and requested someone to come pick me up. He ended the call by saying, ?Please bring a winter jacket and gloves. This student is dressed for a warm climate.?

Prof. Jerry Dodd, who had made arrangements for my coming, came and handed me a ski jacket and a pair of gloves. I was so unaccustomed to severe weather that I wore the jacket and gloves whenever I was awake. In class, I struggled when taking notes.

When Prof. Skinner brought to my attention that I needed to remove my gloves in order to take notes effectively, it dawned on me that I had been so stuck to my jacket and gloves that I was not effective. The gloves were useful outside, but not when taking notes.

I realized I was perhaps stuck to more than gloves. I was stuck to my fear of removing the gloves and getting cold. This fear led to my wearing the gloves in the wrong places and for the wrong purpose. Since I could not take adequate notes, I had to spend more time reading text books.

Since then, I have wondered about areas of life where people become stuck to ?spiritual or social gloves.? For spiritual growth and social advancement, one has to free oneself from any entanglement that stops or slows growth. There are several ways in which we can get stuck, thus curtailing productivity, growth, vision and accomplishment of one?s purposes. A few of these ways are:

? Stuck to a learned behavior or lifestyle. This can be hard to change especially if the lifestyle has been practiced for a long period of time. A question arises. In that lifestyle, can I be the best I can be to myself, family and community? If not, how and when can I change so as to have fulfillment in life?

? Stuck to narrow identity. When Jesus said we can do ?even greater works? if we believed, He did not mention any background that was necessary. Race, education gender, weight, height, age or other narrow identity were not mentioned as qualifications that one needs to live a life of fulfillment. Faith is the criteria. If you believe you can fulfill your dreams, you can.

? Stuck to a ?processionary caterpillar? circle. There is a species of caterpillar that has a leader and travels by forming a line. One caterpillar places its head on the tail of the leader and a third caterpillar places its head on the tail of the second one. This goes on until each caterpillar, beside the leader, has its head on the tail of the caterpillar that is immediately ahead. Zig Ziglar, author of See You at the Top, says that if the head of the lead caterpillar is moved in such a way that it?s placed on the tail of the last caterpillar, thus forming a circle, the caterpillars will keep going round and round until they die of hunger, even if food is placed inside the circle. Can you achieve your spiritual and social goals with the associates you have today? Can you explore new opportunities while maintaining the same way of thinking, acting and associates?

? Stuck to unclarified perceptions. I thought I would get cold by removing my gloves in class. Had I just tried, I would not have struggled while taking notes for two weeks. There are opportunities for growth that can only be attained if one ventures out of one?s ordinary perceptions. Perceptions are changeable.

? Stuck to ?inherited bitterness.? History abounds about inconceivable mistreatments that people have subjected others to. The basis for these mistreatments is broad. They may consist of tribal wars, religion, color, gender, education, even height. In some instances, effects of those mistreatments have been passed on from generation to generation. It?s not unusual to meet someone who is suspicious of another based on ?inherited? bitterness or perception. History can not be erased. However, it can be used to build strong, harmonious ties that prevent history from repeating itself. The past is a point of reference, but it must not become a dwelling place.

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