Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The "Our Reach" Challenge

In general, I’m a pretty big fan of typos, grammatical gaffes, and other rifts between native speakers and the Mother Tongue. As a freelance writer and a non-practicing English teacher, I view these breaches in convention as readily available sources of entertainment, not unlike sports bloopers or film outtakes.

Most of us are familiar with those church bulletin faux pas that get passed around via email—you know, the ones informing the congregation of the need for new choir robes due to the recent addition of new members and the deterioration of some older ones, or those announcing that the ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind, and may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon. One announcement stated the need for attendees of the Weight Watchers meeting to enter through the large double doors at the back of the building. Every now and then, though, I happen across slip of the keyboard that is just, well, perfect.

A serendipitous typo in my own church bulletin on Sunday doubled as a one word sermon summary for me. It could have passed easily as the well-considered material from a large publishing house, but it wasn’t. It was, simply, an omitted letter “t,” an oversight in the notes for the sermon entitled the Outreach Challenge, which now read as the “Oureach” Challenge. Our Reach. What could be a more perfect moniker for a lesson all about the little pieces of big puzzles, the small gestures and simple kindnesses that are within our grasp? The things we can do to alleviate problems even if we can’t solve them. The acts that may seem insignificant by themselves, but represent our unique contribution to an equation that will otherwise remain unsolved; the hearts, the lives, the souls behind the needs right within Our Reach.

None of us can do everything. In fact, sometimes what we have to offer—physically, emotionally, or financially—seems a small contribution in comparison with the need. Last week felt like that, for me. I had friends, just within my grasp who were dealing with trouble of all kinds. Sudden loss. Disappointment. Sickness. The stories aren’t mine to tell, and my part in them was small—very small. But doing something seemed better than nothing, and small though my responses were, they were the ones within my reach.

So, in conclusion….Let’s meat the needs in front of us that are as plane as the nose on our faces. And let’s watch are grammer and spelling, to. There’s a lot of bad examples out their.


Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

Hey there!

I LOVE typos and grammatical errors, and that story was great. Sometimes the error ends up being better than the original intention.

Jen said...

Thank you Cindy for meeting some of our small needs this last week. We received a small welcome suprise, and with current conditions it was most needed.. for me personally.. you've always been a big peace to the puzzle of my life! Your "small" contributions have been used by God in amazingly large ways.

Kathleen said...

What a grate post! Your such a wonderful righter!!

Life Laugh Latte said...

Spent all morning loving a friend that lost her mom a few weeks ago. We cried, and laughed, and talked about grief, and injustice, and left with that amazing feeling of connection and hope. Holly

Gropius said...

Write on! You can make the world laugh with one slip of the pen...or get fired, depending on what you do for a living. Angels like you who take care of friends in need are the big picture--typos, well, they're (their, there) part of the minutia of life. Both make interesting stories.

Catherine Wannabe said...


KB said...

I try to avoid typos at this stage of my life but I can remember the high school days(we didn't type then) when I used to enjoy contriving miss spellings and faux passes just to get my English teachers to feign annoyance with me. It was a menage a trois between me, them, and the language so in reality they probably appreciated my efforts.

Thanks for your recent comments on Froggy Pond. I don't know where you live but I'm sure there's something like it within a reasonable distance. I used to live in upper Manhattan and I still managed to find nature in the neighborhood.

Pines Lake Redhead said...

Thank goodness that typos was a positive one. Someone once pointed out to me that the "G" and "T" are only one keystroke away from each other. Therefore, he never signs his business letters "Regards."

Julia, the Thanksgiving Girl said...

I think you're the first person I've ever came across who says they're a fan of typos... But I agree there are definately some entertaining ones out there, I wish I could actually remember some of the funniest ones!

LOL at the "bad examples out THEIR" :)

Oh, and I agree that even a little something is always better than nothing at all.

Willoughby said...

I used to edit legal documents as part of my job, so I tend to notice spelling and grammatical errors, too. Some are funny, some are annoying, and some are wonderful, like the one you pointed out.


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