, Corbin, KY

December 9, 2013

Love in a tweak or a bushel and a peck, Corbin, KY

CORBIN — On my lawn mower, string trimmer and leaf blower it only takes a fractional turn of a carburetor adjustment screw to get the small two-cycle engine to run smoothly; a tiny tweak for a perfect purr.

I see that the auto industry is doing a lot of tweaking, intently seeking an ever greater distance from a gallon of gasoline. In two years, 2016, the average of 35.5 MPG is required for all auto makers.

Seemingly meniscal and even trivial, auto manufacturers are scouring every possible idea that might make a car go a bit further on fuel.

Honda, Chrysler and GM have cars that shut off some of the engine cylinders when not in need, while Ford is designing total-engine turn off when the car is not moving, like at stoplights. These are projected to have a fuel savings of 4-10 percent.

Chevy, Ford and Dodge have models that feature grill shutters which set in front of the radiator to improve aerodynamics. These shutters open only when radiator cooling is needed.

Even though this shutter feature will only improve mileage at an estimated 0.5 percent, every little bit counts for an industry that must increase MPG.

I, most of all, am impressed with Chrysler’s multiplicity of gears in their new transmissions found to boost their mileage. A nine-speed transmission is a big jump from the usual 3-5 speed.

In much of the same way, the continual flow of little tweaks propels love. Just a moment to look, smile or speak affirms love. Refusing to be disturbed from my daily schedule in order to be friendly and loving tells my neighbor (and God) “You are not important enough to disturb my love for myself.”

Every act of love, regardless of how small, requires some moment of time and attention along with some expenditure of energy (be it ever so small). All love has a price tag — something of my life spent for another’s life; along with energy joyfully given to accommodate and serve.

Year after year teaching Sunday school or spending a month painting a handicaps’ home or spending $3,000 to travel to Haiti to serve the desperate needs of orphans, are all examples of love that are largess (a bushel and a peck).

May we all be willing to spend ourselves in every possible way (big or small) for loving God and neighbor — paving the joyful path to eternal life.

The Rev. John Burkhart Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of

psychology blog at inspirationsandideas