The Secret to Doing the Impossible

Mar 4, 2015 by

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Yesterday, I posted a picture on Facebook of my first attempt at book paper folding since I made a Mrs. Santa Clause out of two Reader’s Digest magazines in the sixth grade. Creating this heart was a bit more complicated than the Mrs. Santa Clause. Okay, a lot more complicated. All Mrs. Santa required was neatly folding each page into a triangle. But ever since my agent posted a photo of a gift she’d received from one of her other clients—a book that had been folded to form the word dream—I have wanted to try this new trendy form of book art. When my co-leader of the Inspire Castro Valley critique group, Susy Flory, offered to teach us all how to make hearts out of old books, I couldn’t wait. Then we started the process and I looked at the pattern—the very tiny pattern with thin faint lines and microscopic numbers that needed to be followed precisely. For a moment, my dream of creating cool book art got replaced with pitiful memories of being the only visually impaired girl in 7th grade Art 1.

I refused to give in to mental images of my failed color wheel attempt (I got a C-, and my teacher was being kind), or the time I took a bow-making class with a friend and the instructor checked my progress and commented, “I’m worried about you.” I would make a heart out of a book if it took all night! And it would be a good heart, not one that worried Susy! There were only two things holding me back: I couldn’t read the numbers on the pattern and could barely see the lines that I needed to match my pages up with. I did, however, have a critique group full of friends cheering me on and two very patient ladies on either side of me willing to point out and mark with a dark pen, each line that I needed to fold to. The group waited for me to finish even after the church building where we hold our meetings was supposed to close. We laughed about the heart being proof that I will try anything. I folded my last page to a round of applause.

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This morning as I admired the heart-shaped book displayed on my desk, I realized the secret to my ability to make it: I had to be both willing to try even as the past taunted, “You can’t do that, it’s impossible,” and willing to accept help. I had to push aside my fear of being a burden on Eileen and Melanie, and let go of the guilt over keeping the group waiting. I had to believe that the kindness and support of every friend who said, “You’re a rock star of paper folding” and chose to stick around until I finished was sincere.

How many times have I also had to do this in other areas of life—be willing to go forward no matter how hard the task might be, even if I knew I ran the risk of failing, and willing to ask for help when what I was attempting got too hard for me?

How often do we all need to learn this lesson?

Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (or in my case, has no one to help her fold book pages).

The reality of life and faith is that God occasionally—more like often—calls us do what is too hard for us. That is when we learn to cry out to Him and others for help. That is when we see the beauty of combining perseverance and humility.

What are you going through or attempting that feels beyond you? Who can you call on for help?

When has allowing others to help you gotten you through a difficult season or impossible task?

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6 Comments

  1. Melanie

    Jeanette, you totally inspired me! I am amazed and awed by your ability to stick with the task AND do an outstanding job, as well. You taught me lessons in patience and perseverance I’d never have learned except by observing you at work. Thank you for your wonderful example to us all!

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      Thank you so much, Melanie! Your comment really touches and encourages me. Thank you for being one of my helpers :).

  2. Good job, Jeanette.

  3. Cheryl Thompson

    It was a fun nIght! We went from being focused on individual efforts to becoming an excited group thanks to your perseverance and determination. I know Melanie and Eileen really enjoyed helping you and we all enjoyed watching you three in action. There was a little drama being played out right before us, starting with your extremely brief moment of despair when you saw (or didn’t see) the instructions, through your final fold and the cheer that followed. Thanks for sharing…then and now!

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