Lessons from a broken drill-bit

Just now as I was attempting to drill pilot holes to screw a multi hanger thing into a board in my garage glamp-partment, the drill bit snapped.

It wasn’t entirely unexpected. I even reminded myself in advance that the finest bit, the one that’s best for drilling a pilot hole into the tough tough wood, is also the one that is most likely to snap. And cautioned myself to take care and go slow. Alas, I didn’t go slow enough or more likely my wrist was floppy and fell into a sloppy angle. And so, snap-eroo!

The drill bit, and it’s broken off state, was still sharp, as often happens when the drill bit breaks. I should mention that this is a punch drill, also known as a Yankee drill. A hand tool that uses mechanical springs to increase leverage.

I’ve always loved hand tools. No batteries to charge; no cords to get tangled, no having to mess with an extension cord to get the electricity out to the place where there’s no electricity. Plus, no matter what people say about how much more effective power-tools are, I just seem to do better with hand tools.

In the tiny metallic universe of my toolkit, my punch-drill has a dear dear place in my heart, equaled only by my ratcheting screwdriver.

Well, I decided to try to use the now-jaggedy-pointed bit to keep trying to drill. And it worked to a degree. It actually worked better than the unbroken bit had worked! And although the pilot holes I managed to create were really little more than tiny divots, I did get my multi hanger thing mounted.

Providing instant relief in the form of a good place to hang my little shopping bags and windbreaker jacket and other daily essentials. It’s amazing what a lifesaver something like a little multi hanger thing can be, when you’ve been using some half-assed substitute (bent wire, floppy hook things, etc.). It’s the little things, it really is. It’s the little daily things that wear us down; and it’s the little daily things that can totally make a difference in our day.

And the difference influences our mood, which in turn ripples out to the people around us, as I’m sure you’ve noticed by some examples in your life! The repaired screen; the door that suddenly shuts smoothly instead of having to be pushed really hard; the key that suddenly actually works without having to be jiggled.

But gosh darn, that wood is so so hard. Old treated wood from a fence. That, or else my wrists have gotten weaker. The latter is rather likely, actually.

But what I learned from this little morning escapade, among other things, is that the jagged drillbit can work too. Not only can work, but in this case actually worked better. There’s a lesson in that for us people. We are broken and jaggedy in our various ways. And yet, we can continue to be of help and to serve the greater good. In fact, sometimes — as happened just now with my drill bit — the jaggedy edges are what make us the most helpful!

I’ve written in this blog before about a Hindu goddess who started captivating my attention some years back. Her name is Akhilandeshwari, the goddess who is never not broken.

Being broken can be an advantage! It can be just the thing for dealing with an obstinate board … or a broken world.

Laura Amazzone sums things up beautifully in this article “Akhilandeshwari: The Power of Brokenness,” in Sutra Journal. This is a deep, intricate, sumptuous piece; a real treat.