Blowing Fuses


"Hmm. Let's try that again," I thought.


"Weird. What is going on?!... Ok, let's try this."


"Dang it! Ok, how about a bigger one?"


In the space of 10 minutes I had blown 8 fuses. When I got this old jeep it had basically zero wiring. Originally these old guys didn't have fuses, which is why they often caught on fire. I decided to add a fuse block to add layers of protection into the wiring system. I knew it would be a challenge, but I also reasoned that I could figure it out. After spending hours upon hours running wiring to power lights, sensors, and half a dozen other things, and even more time just researching how to do it, I was nearing the finish line. 

But electrical gremlins are known to be the bane of automotive mechanics. Chasing down problems can be tough, especially for someone as inexperienced as me. And even though I set up a simple system, I was at a loss. I purchased parts I thought were bad to try to fix the blowing fuses. They didn't work. I tried re-working some of the system. They still popped. I tried larger fuses (not generally recommended) and they blew. 

Somewhere in the lighting system, a live wire was contacting a ground wire, causing what is called a short circuit, which was blowing the fuses. 

This happens to me more often than I'd like. No- not in my vehicles, but in my own person. I'll have an interaction with someone or something that touches a live wire I didn't even know about, and I'll short circuit, blowing my fuse. It happens with my wife, my kids, and others.

Somewhere in my story, a wire was stripped of its insulation and is now a raw spot, and when someone happens to touch it, my system over-flows with power and breaks down. For me, it usually it has something to do with shame.

Competency is a way that I've wrapped cheap electrical tape around the bare wire, and when that tape starts to fail, and my competency comes into question, I am left feeling the shame of not being good enough. I hate that feeling.

For me, this often leads to the fear of being rejected and alone, or just as bad, unseen and alone. If I'm not competent, or frankly, above and beyond or "next level" as my team has labeled me, I won't get the affirmation and connection I long for. When my competency comes into question, a hot wire rubs against a ground. I can get short circuited and blow a fuse.

Often I subconsciously hedge against it by making sure people know that I don't know what I'm doing. That way if it doesn't turn out well I won't be as questioned. 

Finding and fixing the raw wire in an automotive electrical system requires a lot of patience and the right tools - and the knowledge of how to use those tools once you acquire them. Finding the tools may not be terribly difficult, but the patience and knowledge are not as quickly attained. 

The same is true for hunting down the short circuits in our own stories- those moments that left raw live wires ready to spark and blow our internal fuses. The solution to fixing the short circuit involves diving backwards into those earlier moments,- be it parents, bullies, teachers, etc- into the places where a wire got stripped or melted, and maybe we had to wrap cheap electrical tape around it. We need to do the slow diagnostic work of finding those areas of our story and healing them. 

Often this can require the help or coaching from someone more experienced than ourselves. It can be exhaustive, frustrating work, but in the end, the result is worth it. A restored man can bring healing to the world around him. Unhealed wounds, on the other hand, can cause destructive fires. 

Do you blow fuses? Any damaged wires you've wrapped cheap electrical tape around? How are you at doing the work to find those root issues, rather than masking them?

Cody Buriff, Director of Resource Initiatives


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