When I was young, I couldn’t say my R’s. Everyone just thought it made me sound extra cute, or so they would say, so it didn’t seem to bother me. Even though my brothers would taunt me “Jodi, Jodi, say Dr. Pepper!” “Doctow Peppaw” And my parent’s friends thought it was so cute for me to repeat after them, “Lizards have gizzards”. “Lizzawds have gizzawds”, I would attempt. One girl in my class, Tiffany, blurted out one day that she loved my accent. “Now there’s an idea!”, I thought, “I’ll just pretend like it’s an accent”. But my friends standing around her laughed a little and cleared up her confusion that this was not some cool, rare accent. I just couldn’t say my R’s. Once I hit 3rd grade, my teachers started telling my mom she should probably do something about this. So, on to speech lessons I went.
Speech lessons twice a week after school to learn to say my R’s felt like a daunting task, and I wondered if any amount of training would ever change the way I had spoken all my many years of life. After several lessons, I discovered how to correctly pronounce the R… “purrrrrrple”. “I said it! I did it! But, wait, that sure took a lot of learning and work just to be able to say the word 1 time”, I thought. The outcome felt certain that I would have to think long and hard every time I said an R for the rest of my life! But despite how it felt at the time, my teacher reassured me that after repeating the correct R many times, I would soon start to say it the right way without even thinking about it. And, to my surprise, he was right. Sure enough, the day came when I was saying every R correctly without any thought or effort. That, to me, was amazing!
Now when I face a change that feels like pushing 1,000 lbs. every laborious step and I wonder if the effort to change, whether it is adjusting to a loss or learning something new, I remember this lesson with my R’s. I remember that with time and consistency, the load will lighten. It won’t always be this heavy. And one day before I know it, I’ll look and the weight will be gone. I will have changed or grown past that struggle and I no longer have to think long and hard before saying each “R” or taking each step. The same is true for each of us.
Thank You, Lord, for growth, change and our ability to learn new things!
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29