Call Me Trim Tab

by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff

Richard Buckminster Fuller was an American architect, author, inventor, and futurist. Probably best known for his creation of the geodesic dome, Fuller dedicated his life to making the world work for all humanity. What a wonderful purpose! When Fuller died, the following words were inscribed on his gravestone: “CALL ME TRIMTAB.”

If you have ever wondered how mighty sailing ships turn, you probably thought it had to do with a rudder. And you would be right! But the ability to move that big rudder takes a lot of energy. Engineers came up with the idea that if you put a miniature rudder (a trim tab) on the big rudder, it would move more easily and use far less effort. And, in fact, it did!

The trim tab was a brilliant technological innovation, but Fuller expanded the trim tab concept further, using it as an explanation of our place in the world. We are all trim tabs! We may seem miniature or ineffective at making big changes in the world, but the big changes have never come about without the individual change first.

Think about it. Men didn’t just decide one day that women should have the vote because it was the fair and equitable thing to do. It was a slow process of education and evolution by many activists that brought about the 19th amendment to the US Constitution in 1920, giving women in America the right to vote. The airplane didn’t just happen, either. Humankind pondered the possibility of flight by watching birds, exploring the invention of the kite by the Chinese in 400 BC, and finally experiencing it with the Wright Brothers’ first successful airplane flight in 1903. There were many people nurturing and giving fuel to these landmark changes – there were a lot of trim tabs helping to make these paradigm shifts possible.

We are all trim tabs of consciousness, and it is through our daily shifts in thought that transformation occurs. Anthropologist Margaret Meade alluded to that when she said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

As students of A Course in Miracles we have the opportunity to be trim tabs of global healing every day. The Course tells us, “I am the means God has appointed for the salvation of the world.” (W-63) And, the means of this appointed task is forgiveness. As we are told, “My forgiveness is the means by which the world is healed, together with myself. Let me, then, forgive the world, that it may be healed along with me.” (W-82)

We have the mission and the means to heal our world. We don’t have to take giant steps; instead, we can work at the trim tab level of the relationship or situation that is right in front of us now. The willingness for healing and peace to be the outcome in one relationship or situation makes a mighty difference in this world. One person can make a difference, especially when they share the power of the Infinite, the power of God, in doing so. And that is the purpose when forgiveness is the goal.

Let’s join together as mighty trim tabs of healing. Let us look at the problems confronting us or the world today and allow forgiveness to rest its healing blessing on them. We can indeed be healed today. We can escape from a world of pain and suffering, for it is God’s Will that we be healed, and this happens as we release everyone with us through the power of forgiveness. What a mighty purpose we have!

“When I am healed I am not healed alone. And I would share my healing with the world …” (W-137)

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